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Georgia Historical Society. 

Vol. vii. 



Published by 

Georgia Historical Society 

Savannah, Ga. 

Savannah, Ga. 

Savannah Morning News, 



The letters, whose translation follows, are contained in a 
folio volume, being copies made in St. Augustine in 1844 by 
Antonio Alvarez, Keeper of the Public Archives, from the 
originals under his care. These originals must themselves 
have been retained copies. As the last letter is numbered 
248, and there are but 36 in this collection, it is clear that 
cither a selection has been made, or else that the other let- 
ters bore upon subjects not sufficiently important or inter- 
esting to merit copying. From internal evidence, however, 
furnished in one or two instances, it appears that one or two 
despatches have been overlooked, supposing always that 
the originals were still in existence. Letter No. 198, is not 
in Alvarez's handwriting, and seems to have been inserted 
or copied after all the others, as though by a person who 
objected to its omission. It is not certified to be a true 
copy, as are all the others; but a note sets forth that it was 
copied from the original MS. The insertion of this partic- 
ular letter, coupled with the internal evidence mentioned, 
would seem to indicate that the collection might have been 
enlarged with profit. Each letter, with the exception noted, 
is accompanied by Alvarez's elaborate certificate in English 
(see first and second letters) and stamped with his seal as 
keeper of the Public Archives. It has not been thought 
worth while to reproduce this certificate with each letter in 
this translation. And smiliarly of the elaborate and formal 
close of each letter, in which the author begs his corres- 
pondent to accept "his assurances of faithful and affection- 
ate obedience with prayer that our Lord may keep his Ex- 
cellency many years, and kisses his hand ;" inserted once or 
twice, the more frequent repetition of these formulas would 
prove tiresome, and so they are omitted. Spanish and 
English (Georgia and Carolina) Colonial place-names in 
general, are left as Don Manuel wrote them, and so of 
personal names. All these letters are addressed to Don Juan 
Francisco de Guemes y Horcasitas, Governor General of 
Cuba. When the word ''place'' occurs in the following 
pages, it must be understood as representing the Spanish 
plaza, that is, a fortified position with its own and depen- 
dencies. C. De W. W. 
Washingon, July 29, 1908. 


For many years the Georgia Historical Society has had 
among its unpublished manuscripts a bound volume of letters 
written in Spanish, pertaining to the siege of St. Augustine, Flor- 
ida, by General James Oglethorpe in 1740. These letters were 
originally written by Don Manuel de Montiano, the Spanish officer 
then in charge of the military forces at St. Augustine, to his supe- 
rior officer, Don Juan Francisco de Guemas y Horcasitas, Gov- 
ernor General of Cuba. 

From the minutes of the Society dated September 11, 1843, it 
appears that attention had been called to the original letters "on 
hearing a letter from Mr. Brown, of St. Augustine," and it is here 
further stated, "and which Diary is still preserved in the archives 
office at St. Augustine." A recent inquiry of the St. Augustine His- 
torical Society shows that the original letters referred to in this 
communication ar» not now in its possession, and none now con- 
nected with the Society knows anything of their whereabouts. 

It was resolved, "That the corresponding secretary be directed 
to ascertain at what cost a verbatim copy of the original docu- 
ment in the Spanish language can be obtained; and that said sec- 
retary have full power to act in the matter." 

On November 28, 1843, Wm. B. Hodgson, Esq., a public- 
spirited citizen of Savannah, and afterwards a great benefactor 
of the Society, addressed the following letter to Mr. I. K. Tefft, 
the corresponding secretary: 

"It affords me pleasure to record my acknowledgments to the 
Rev. Dr. Hawkes, lately of New York and now of Holly Springs, 
Mississippi, for the advantage of possessing this Spanish manu- 

"During the learned Doctor's visit to St. Augustine he obtained 
a copy of these official letters from the public archives of East 
Florida. The truth and correctness of the copy is attested by 
Don Antonio Alvarez, keeper of those archives. The copy, which 
I send you, is made from that of Dr. Hawkes, and whenever the 
wish of the Society may be expressed, I should have a sincere 
pleasure in furnishing a translation of these Spanish documents." 

For some reason Mr. Hodgson never furnished the promised 
translation, and not until the year 1908 were steps taken to have 
these letters translated. The Society was fortunate in securing 
for this purpose the services of Major C. De Witt Willcox, a native 
Georgian, now of the U. S. Army, whose scholarly attainments 
and military training fitted him specially for this work, and to him 
the thanks of the Society are due for this important contribution 
to the history of our state. 

It has been thought best to include in this volume several 
maps and illustrations which will throw much light up the opera- 
tions against St. Augustine by Oglethorpe. The plan of the old 
fort of San Marco is a photographic reproduction of a tracing made 
by the United States government in Spain in 1884, the tracing 
being kindly furnished by Capt. George R. Spalding, in charge 
of the United States Engineer's Office in Jacksonville, Fla. The 
other maps are copied from originals in possession of Mr. W. J. 
DeRenne, of Wormsloe. The thanks of the Society are specially 
due to this public-spirited gentleman for his generous aid in placing 
at its disposal the facilities of his rare and excells-nt collection of 
Georgia history. 

Most of these maps arc self-explanatory, but the dates of some 
of them are inferred from a close examination of the originals 
"The Plan of the Harbour of St. Augustine in the Province of 
Georgia, Composed and Published from Surveys Deposited in the 
Office of the Right Honourable the Lords of Trade, by J. F. \V. 
Des Barres, Esqr.," was probably made about 1777. 

The map, showing "South Carolina, Florida and The Western 
or Atlantick Ocean," bears upon the original the following legend: 

"The Original of this Map was drawn by Col. Barnevelt, who 
Commanded several Expeditions against the Indians in the Tune 
of the Indian War, as also served under Col. Moore in all his 
Expeditions in the said War. It is highly approved of by Lieu- 
tenant Governour Bull, who is allowed to be the best Judge of 
Carolina and the Indian Countrys round it of any Person now in 
the Province." 

The date of this map is not given, but from data given by the 
map itself it could not have been made before 1719. 

The future historian of this period will find in addition to the 
accounts in the well-known histories of Georgia the following 
references suggestive and helpful. All of these books are in the 
library of Mr. W. J. DeRenne at Wormsloe, and some of them 
cannot be found elsewhere. 

"The Report of the Committee of Both Houses of Assembly 
of the Province of South Carolina, Appointed to Enquire into 
the Causes of the Disappointment of Success, in the late Expe- 
dition against St. Augustine, Under the Command of General 
Oglethorpe." 1743- 

"A History of the American People," by Woodrow Wilson, 
Vol. 2, Page 69. 

"Life and Character of Oglethorpe," an address delivered 
before the Literary Societies of the University of Georgia, August 
2, i860, by Rev. C. W. Howard. 

"The Making of Georgia," two addresses by Hon. Walter G. 
Charlton, of Savannah. 

"A Description of East Florida, with a Journal kept by John 
Bartram, of Philadelphia, Botanist to His Majesty for the Flori- 
das," MDCCLXIX. 

"An Account of the First Discovery, and Natural History of 
Florida," by William Roberts, London, MDCCLXIII. 

"The Spanish Hireling Detected: Being a Refutation of the 
Several Calumnies and Falsehoods in the late Pamphlet, Entitled, 
'An Impartial Account of the Late Expedition Against St. 
Augustine under General Oglethorpe,' by George Cadogan, Lieu- 
tenant in General Oglethorpe's Regiment." London, MDCCXLIII. 

"An Impartial Account of the late Expedition against St. 
Augustine under General Oglethorpe, occasioned by the Suppres- 
sion of the Report, made by a Committee of the General Assembly 
in South Carolina, transmitted, under the Great Seal of that 
Province, to their Agent in England, in orded to be printed." 1742. 

"Newest and Most Correct Report of the Scenery of Georgia 
in English America." 1746. (In German.) 

The Georgia Historical Society presents herewith to the stu- 
dents of Georgia and American history the translation of these in- 
teresting letters with the hope that a clearer light may be thrown 
upon this heroic period of our state's history. 

U. H. McLAWS, 
Committee on Printing and Publishing. 












H . 












■ -i 















Siege of St. Augustine 

No. i. 

Sir : Diego de Espinosa (one of the most respected cit- 
izens of this presidio) has informed me that there came to 
this point last year, one Don Carlos Dempsis, an English- 
man, second in command of the settlements of New Georgia. 
As he wished to return to them, Don Francisco del Moral 
gave him permission to go overland, directing the adjutant 
Don Manuel de Arze, who is now here, to accompany him. 
This officer allowed the Englishman to see a fort built by 
the said Espinosa at his own expense on his stock farm 
about six leagues from here, and mounting five falconets, 
and to sleep one night on the place. Now this Englishman 
is an Engineer, and is the first of his nation to see the said 
fort, the only defense in its territory. Moreover the same 
privilege was later granted by Don Manuel to two other 
Englishmen. I consider it my duty to report these facts 
to your excellency such as they are, in order that they 
may not be hidden from your superior penetration. I beg 
Your Excellency to honor me with frequent advice to the 
betterment of my poor abilities in your behalf. 

May God keep Your Excellency many years, as I desire, 
and is proper. 

Saint Augustine, in Florida, March 22, 1737. 

Your Excellency's grateful and obliged servant, who 
kisses your hand, 

Don Manuel Joseph de Justis. 
To Senor Don Juan Francisco de Guemes y Horcasitas : 

I, Antonio Alvarez, Keeper of the Public Archives of 
East Florida, do hereby certify the foregoing to be a true 
and correct transcript from a book in which are recorded the 
official letters addressed by Don Manuel Joseph de Justis 
Governor of East Florida, to Don Juan Francisco de Guemes 
y Horcasitas, Captain General of the Island of Cuba, be- 


Letters of Montiano 

tween the 226. March, 1837 ( sic) and the 14th August of the 
same year, which book belongs to the Archives under my 

Witness my hand and seal of 
office at the City of St. Au- 
gustine, territory of Florida, 
this twelfth day of February, 
A. D. one thousand eight 
hundred and forty-four. 

(Signed) Antonio Alvarez, 
K. P. A. 

Letter No. 2. 

My present news compels me to send Pedro de Alcantara 
in his schooner and to beg for Your Excellency's protec- 
tion, so that, acquainted with the case, and with our present 
necessities as doubtless repored to Your Excellency by 
Don Manuel de Justis, you may be pleased to take the nec- 
essary steps to put this position in a state of defense against 
the intentions of the English to seize it with its provinces. An 
offer to this end has been made to the King of Great Britain 
in his Parliament by Milord Ogletor, a member of the same. 
He declared from his seat that this place, with Apalachee 
and its provinces would be more useful to Great Britain 
than all its remaining Colonies and Islands in America. 
For in possession of them, he would guarantee that no ship 
of ours could pass through the channel* and that conse- 
quently we could not enjoy the treasures produced by the 
Kingdoms of Peru and New Spain without his consent. This 
offer having been favorably received, he was made Com- 
mander in Chief of all the Colonies, of the Island of Jamaica 
and others, and lord of land and sea, receiving at the same 
time 125 #** [thousand] dollars for fortifications, and also 
480 regular troops for the campaign against these Provinces. 

» Florida Straight. Tr. 

** This symbol 4L is taken to represent thousand. Tr. 

Siege of St. Augustine 

And although Parliament opposed any invasion during the 
peace, yet on combining the news in question with that 
just brought me (for these matters are known also in 
Apalachee) by the Cacique Sacafaca of the town of Chal- 
acarliche, it is evident we should not overlook what the 
English have done at other times. The Cacique who comes 
expressly and voluntarily from these distant provinces, 
warns me that the Indians attached to the English were 
descending in small bodies to annoy those regions, and that 
the Caciques were ordered by the English to assemble so 
as to treat of various matters. We must to-day, therefore, 
distrust their efforts, intensified as they are by the pride of 
Milord Ogletor, who finds himself supported by the peers 
of the Kingdom for the sole purpose of acquiring glory in 
these conquests. It is not to be doubted that he will act 
with the greatest firmness by sea and land ; and unfortu- 
nately for us, his slightest effort will be successful, for we 
have not here the means to resist a moderate force. Our 
case is much worse at sea ; for, by holding the mouth of 
the inlet with one or two frigates, our communications are 
completely cut on this side, and our supplies stopped. They 
will succeed in their plan, a fact of which they are well aware, 
as they are also of the deplorable condition of this place, 
seeing it has so few troops for its defense. I hope, there- 
fore, that Your Excellency will heed these reasons and also 
the fact that the preservation of this post is of the greatest 
importance to the security of all America, and so be pleased 
to take the promptest measures, which I leave to the discre- 
tion and judgment of Your Excellency. Your Excellency's 
knowledge of the profession, acquired by long and distin- 
guished service, will enable you to realize what is needed 
here, being, without further detail, everything. For Your 
Excellency must know that this castle*, the only defense here, 
has no bombproofs for the protection of the garrison, that 
the counterscarp is too low, that there is no covered way, 
that the curtains are without demi-lunes, that there are no 
other exterior works to give them time for a long defense ; 
but that we are as bare outside as we are without life in- 
side, for there are no guns that could last 24 hours, and if 
there were, we have no artillerymen to serve them. 

I have ordered 4,000** stakes to be cut for the construc- 

* Fort Sao Marco. Tr. 

** In the original 4<? Tr. 

io Letters of Monti ano 

tion of the covered way, with the full knowledge that the 
work will be imperfect by reason of the low height of the 
counterscarp ; but as raising it would be a long and costly 
task involving much earth work, I shall apply myself to 
such repairs as are immediately practicable and of least 
cost. For I have no other funds than the small quantity 
of silver bullion turned over to Don Francisco del Moral, 
and although I might wish to run the wall from the castle 
to the Cubo***, and raise here a bulwark to meet the attack 
they might direct from this point against the castle, yet I 
cannot do everything, partly from lack of means and partly 
from lack of workmen, convicts and slaves to do the work. 
If Your Excellency should resolve, as is my hope, to send 
troops, workmen, some money, slaves or exiles, and an 
Engineer to direct operations, let them also bring a suffi- 
ciency of supplies, for while there is no doubt the English 
will cut off our bread upon noticing anything unusual, there 
is just as little doubt that the plans and pride of Milord 
Ogletor will come to naught, and that if we have time to 
prepare for defense, we shall rob him of all hope. 

The two spies agree on the news herewith, and recom- 
mend strongly that we should not neglect our preparations 
for Milord Ogletor was expected at the latest all throngh 
October, and his boldness would trample on all obstacles. 
This is all I have to bring to the knowledge of Your Excel- 
lency whom I shall always faithfully serve, desiring that 
our Lord may preserve Your Excellency many happy years. 

Florida, November n, 1737. 

Your Excellency's most faithful affectionate servant, 

Don Manuel de Montiano. 

For Don Juan Francisco de Guemes y Horcasitas. 

I, Antonio Alvarez, Keeper of the Public Archives of 
East Florida, do hereby certify the foregoing to be a true 
and correct transcript from a book in which are recorded 
the official letters addressed by Don Manuel de Montiano 
Governor of East Florida, to Don Juan Francisco de Guemes 
y Horcasitas, Captain General of the Island of Cuba, between 

*** Cubo is a round fortified tower on the wall of a medieval fort or castle. There 
must have been such a tower at Saint Augustine, known as the Cubo. Tr. 

Siege of St. Augustine 


the 30th September, 1737, and the 1st of February, 1741,* 
which book belongs in the Archives under my charge. 

Witness my hand and seal of 
office at the City of St. Au- 
gustine, territory of Florida, 
this twelfth day of February, 
A. D. one thousand eight 
I hundred and forty-four. 

(Signed) Antonio Alvarez, 

K. P. A. 

No. 17. 


In answer to Your Excellency's letter of November 24, 
inclosing a note, in which the transfer of the company of 
grenadiers is regarded as proper, and directing me to employ 
the news brought by the pilot as a pretext for sending 
(him) with it to Frederico or New Georgia, in order to 
make sure I have the honor to make the following state- 
ment : 

On January 18 I sent the adjutant Don Juan Jacinto 
Rodriguez with Your Excellency's letter, under the pretext 
of complaining to the commanding officers of those colonies., 
that Indians of their allegiance had murdered the Cacique 
Pujoy and the people with him. I further demanded the 
return of the Cacique's wife and of fourteen other persons, 
men and women, taken prisoners, a barbarous violation of 
good relations, and the punishment of the authors of this 
infraction, etc. Having arrived at Gualquini, a plantation of 
Don Guillermo Horton, Esquire, Governor of Frederico, 
Rodriguez gave him my letter, but was refused permission 
to proceed in order to deliver the remaining letters to Don 
Thomas Hauston, Esquire, Governor-in-chief of the entire 
province of San Jorge, and to Don Diego Gasgoine, Captain 

It will be noticed that the last letter of this collection is dated January 2, 1741. 


12 Letters of Montiano 

of the Manual* (man-of-war). In spite of all his efforts, 
permission to proceed was still refused, with the statement 
that within 21 days answers would be sent to San Juan; 
and as he could not delay so long without exciting suspi- 
cion, and now felt sure that he would not be allowed to 
continue his journey, as on former occasions, he decided 
to return, having verified to the best of his ability, the fact 
that no new fortification had been added to those he had 
seen the year before. He noticed, too, that according to 
appearances, they were living without care, or else making 
a show of it. 

While with Don Guillermo, he was told of the departure 
about five months ago from Holland of six ships of 50 or 
60 guns to capture the coast guard vessel of Habana, be- 
cause of the latter's seizure of a ship of great importance 
{mtiy interesado) and that likewise, a ship of unspecified 
nationality had sailed from Cadiz, with orders from the King 
that Your Excellency and Don Antonio de Benavides should 
meet to decide whether the prize was good. He also 
learned that three frigates had arrived with 350 laborers 
to work in the fields, and noticed that the Manual (man-of- 
war) was not in its usual moorings, and upon asking why 
was told that she was careened in Savana. He adds that he 
was informed that the schooner of Devis was loading at 
Puerto Real for a journey to this point, and as the distance 
is only forty leagues, Your Excellency's long delay discour- 
ages me. That is why I renew my prayer to Your Excellen- 
cy to deign to send as early as possible a vessel loaded with 
corn to keep us from perishing. This is all that I have by 
way of news for Your Excellency to whom I am always 
obedient, ever praying, etc. 

Florida, February 3, 1738. 

No. 18. 


I answer Your Excellency's letter of the 24 of November, 
in which Your Excellency elaborately disputes the news I 
gave you that Don Diego Ogletor had been appointed 
General-in-chief. Your Excellency treats the remainder of 
my news in the same fashion, alleging that there may be a 

* The word "man-of-war" is interpolated by the copyist. "Manuel" is evidently 
Don Manuel's transliteration of our "man o' war." Tr. 

Siege of St. Augustine 13 

blunder, and that your doubts are confirmed by English 
explanations to the effect that Don Diego Ogletor's sup- 
porters were, not the King, but a few members of Parlia- 
ment, and that any way it has never been established that 
the King had ever authorized the fraudulent usurpations 
of foreign dominions now condoned, as this would have 
been a notorious infraction. But with the fact before me 
that in spite of the expostulations of ours (i. e. our King) 
they hold their ground, skillfully seeking every opportunity 
to advance and to seize whatever they can without let from 
their King, who should have interfered in accordance with 
the treaty of peace of 1670 delimiting the boundaries of 
both crowns, I am compelled to believe that whenever the 
occasion offers, they will seize by force of arms what they 
have been unable to get by the craft, skill and persistence 
so far employed by them. It is for these reasons that I 
have communicated to Your Excellency the news of our 
spies, it being my plain duty so to do, that no one may at 
any time charge me with the omission. It is also my duty 
to strive to protect this position, as long as the King shall 
entrust it to me. This is my part : it is your Excellency's to 
interpret them (news, events) as you may see fit. I shall 
ever be ready to inform Your Excellency of all fresh events, 
and try to use all opportunities to send news as rapidly as 

And as I should have had (no) boat other than Ojeda's, and 
it could not be expected that Devis's, which I am await- 
ing, would go any farther and as I should give Your Excel- 
lency the news of Pujoy, I make use of Matheo Rodriguez 
who starts at once, begging Your Excellency to send us 
some boat in good time loaded with corn, in case these peo- 
ple should fail us, as is to be feared. My obedience is al- 
ways completely yours, etc. 

Florida, February 4, 1738. 

No 23. 

The departure of Matheo Rodriguez's schooner from this 
point was followed on the 10th inst, by the arrival of a 
small boat from Puerto Real. An explorer who came in 
her reports that a ship from London to the Port of Carolina* 

* Charleston. Don Manuel similarly calls St. Augustine, Florida, just as to-day 
Cubans never say Santiago, but Cuba, the full name of the place being Santiago de 
C uba. Tr. 

J 4 Letters of Montiano 

brings the news of the death of the Queen of Great Britain 
on November 20 of last year. Further, that the Count de 
Montijo, our Ambassador to that (the English) court having 
set forth the indubitable right of the Spanish crown to all 
the colonies south of latitude 33 degrees 30 minutes, our own 
Sovereign asked that they be released without resistance, 
the despatch of troops to hold them constituting an act of 
hostility. The answer to this was an order to prepare 60 
ships of the line to take station off Cadiz, and at the same 
time to send Don Diego Ogletor with 800 regulars, 500 from 
England, and 300 from the Gibraltar garrison under the or- 
ders of a colonel, the best Engineer of the kingdom, Ogle- 
thorpe to have the supreme command of both Carolinas, and 
to receive all necessary assistance. He was expected this 
month with two frigates, one of 40 guns, and already in an- 
ticipation ordered the purchase of great supplies, now being 
stored in Georgia at all hazards. The Count de Montijo 
accordingly withdrew to Madrid, and the resolution of the 
English to send troops made war certain. Further, both 
Carolinas are acquainted with the designs of Habana against 
those Colonies for the month of March, having obtained the 
news from an English frigate that left the said port in August 
and transmitted the news at sea to another frigate encoun- 
tered on its way to Carolina. Here, he continues, fortifi- 
cations are under construction, and six thousand Chalaque 
Indians have been ordered to assemble to go to Georgia : the 
citizens of Old Carolina do not relish the command of Ogle- 
tor on account of his boldness and arrogance, and because 
they fear an interruption of thier business. He reports that 
4,000 men are said to be coming from Spain and a few war 
ships to be joined by the Windward fleet; further that the 
English are asking the Spaniards to return the prizes taken 
in America, and that in Europe an English ship was cap- 
tured by the Spaniards, all its crew put to death, and the ship 
taken to Alicante ; that the Dutch have captured a ship of 
ours in American waters, with a few persons of distinction 
who were being held as hostages until the return of the cap- 
tures made ; that the Germans and French were bound by the 
closest ties of friendship, and that the former and the Rus- 
sians had taken from the Turks many places and provinces, 
killing many people with but little loss on the part of the 

This is all that is reported by the spy, and it agrees with 
what Your Excellency has written to me. It is possible how- 

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Siege of St. Augustine 15 

ever that a visit to this place with this information is a ruse 
to cause us to suspend operations, if it is certain that he has, 
as he says, got hold of a plan without their knowledge, and 
I wonder that such piece of information as the withdrawal 
of our Ambassador should not have been communicated 
to these parts, upon which subject Your Excellency will 
know exactly what to say. 

Having no further news, and begging, etc. 

Florida, February 15, 1738. 

No. 25. 

Just as I was closing my despatches to send them in 
Ojeda's sloop, I received the answers of the commanding of- 
ficers in New Georgia. They may be summed up as express- 
ions of regret for the murder of King Pujoy and promises 
to capture and punish the aggressors, and to restore the 
prisoners if they can be found. They further express the 
desire to maintain good relations, as well as the treaties made 
by their General Oglethorpe with Don Francisco de Moral. 
In respect of Your Excellency's letter treating of the Pilot, 
which no one saw except Don Guillermo Horton, living at 
Gualpuini, there is not a hint in his answer. The others say 
that as they have not seen it, they do not understand the 
matter; I am persuaded they have not failed to interchange 
sentiments on the subject. The trooper that brought the 
letters says that the crew of the English canoe report Ogle- 
thorpe as arrived, and as being in Gualquini ; that they asked 
if there were any Spanish or English ship on the coast, and 
on hearing there were none, returned without going any 
further. I have no more to report to Your Excellency, etc. 

Florida, February 16, 1738. 

No. 38. 


In a letter of Feb. 22, and postscript of March 22, 
Your Excellency gave me notice of the departure of the 
small expedition. This, in spite of the length of the voy- 
age, arrived safely with the exception of a canoe, recovered 
however, as I am informed in that port (Habana). In the 
aforesaid letter, Your Excellency gave me precise directions 
upon the course to be followed and precautions taken, to 

16 Letters of Montiano 

keep from the enemy any knowledge of our intended ex- 
pedition to dislodge foreign intruders from the territory un- 
lawfully held by them in these provinces. But as this plan 
has come to naught, by reason of His Majecty's latest reso- 
lution, nothing is left to me except to regret most deeply the 
frustration of these excellent measures and the absence of 
the results which I had reason to believe would accrue from 
so fine, strong and adequate an expedition — for there is no 
doubt that the small one alone would have filled them with 
consternation and put them to flight. 

With regard to Don Antonio Diaz Villejas, subordinate of 
the principal agent Don Antonio de la Mora, and to Don 
Lorenzo Garcia, in charge of stores, I have done all in my 
power to secure the greatest economy in the distribution of 
rations, and in the care and preservation of stores, charging 
them especially to keep ever in mind the directions given 
them to the same end by Your Excellency. 

In respect of your instructions to send a post to Don 
Alonzo del Toro telling him to suspend his departure until 
the middle of April, the reasons therefor having come to 
an end, I merely told him to observe the directions given 
him by the Engineer Don Antonio de Arredondo in his 
letters (communicated to me). These seemed to me to be 
most proper. With these I sent the post, which he promptly 
received, preparing him for any emergency that might arise. 
This is all I have to report to Your Excellency on these 
matters, etc. 

Florida, 13 May, 1738. 

No. 41. 


Your Excellency's two letters of the 18th of March give me 
the dispositions taken by you to oust the foreign intruders 
in these provinces, and tell me that the general command of 
the expedition has been given to Colonel Don Juan Bapta. de 
Echeverria according to orders furnished Your Excellency, 
among which I conjecture must be included those received 
by me on May 8 from the Marquis of Torrenueva. In respect 
of these matters, I am unable to express to Your Excellency 
my regret at this suspension, because I believe that the 
measures and rules adopted by Your Excellency would sure- 
ly have led to the expulsion of the enemy. For this glorious 
end, and apart from the modest resources offered by this 

Siege of St Augustine 17 

position, I should have striven with all the zeal and love 
demanded by the service of the King, by my affection for 
Your Excellency, and by my sense of what is due my friend 
Don Juan Bapta. de Echeverria. 

In consequence of the failure of this plan, no effect has 
been given to Your Excellency's orders to the agent, Don 
Antonio de la Mora, with respect to the ten thousand pesos 
entrusted to him. As for the six thousand sent me by 
Your Excellency to be employed solely in fortifications, I 
shall arrange that the Engineer in charge make a weekly 
account of expenditures ordered by me, so that everything 
may be perfectly clear and thoroughly justified. The con- 
victs only will draw rations under the forms always followed 
in this garrison, a course of which I approve. 

Your Excellency tells me of the dispatch of 82 convicts 
of those furnished by his Grace the Viceroy Archbishop ; of 
these only one is missing, who I am told, escaped from the 
Morro. We have also received the four pieces of 24 and 18, 
and the eight of 5 and 6. I had already informed Your Ex- 
cellency by letter of April 25, that the six row galley guns 
carried by the galliots had been left here. Being needed 
here I thought fit to take them out, being unwilling to ex- 
pose them to any risk. I beg Your Excellency to send us 
their carriages, as we shall then avoid the expense of new 
ones, and to approve this course of mine. 

I inform Your Excellency that Don Pedro Barranco is 
taking with him four 3-pounder stone mortars, two 2-pounder 
and ten breech plugs, all of bronze, so that Your Excellen- 
cy approve, they may be recast into falconets, which are more 
readily handled. The mortars are useless because their 
plugs, made here, do not fit. The Royal stores here have 
also received through the foreman substituted for Don Fran- 
cisco de Leon Galera, the clothes, shirts, hats, beads and 
pipes, sent under his charge. I shall take the gross amount 
from the Indian budget, and carry it to the account of works. 
in order to employ it in our labors here, which in accordance 
with your suggestion appears to me the best course. 

Florida, May 28, 1738. 

No. 43. 


In a letter of March 24, Your Excellency notified me of the 
day on which you must have embarked the troops and mili- 

i8 Letters of Montiano 

tia for our intended expedition, and that the 21 st of said 
month, you received a post with orders from the King to 
suspend it while conferences between the two crowns would 
fix the metes and bounds of these provinces. And that at 
the same time Your Excellency was advised that His 
Majesty desires they should guard against any sudden at- 
tack, and that measures be taken to put this fortress and 
that of Apalachee into as good condition of defense as pos- 
sible. * * * 

This is all I have to remark in respect of these affairs. 

Florida, June 2, 1738. 

No. 45. 

In a separate letter of March 24, Your Excellency informs 
me that if the two courts do not agree on the delimitation 
or adjustment of the boundaries of this city and of St George, 
and that if in consequence ours should determine upon the 
recovery of the boundaries belonging to it, I am to discover 
by all means in my power the condition of the new settle- 
ments as well as of Puerto Real and Purisbur, whether they 
have received re-enforcemnts, either army or navy, the ton- 
nage of the ships, and that I must obtain the most minute in- 
formation through the most trustworthy channels availa- 
ble, for report to His Majesty. 

I assure Your Excellency that among the many difficulies 
of life here, the greatest is the lack of persons of intelligence 
for such business ; there is not a single emissary here to 
whom it may be intrusted. And although Don Antonio de 
Arrendondo and I have long conferred in these matters, and 
on the methods of obtaining the reliable information we 
need, we have encountered so many obstacles that we have 
not yet hit on the best way of proceeding in so important an 
affair. But what is positive in this whole business, is that 
the English of the new settlements and of San Jorge had not 
the slightest idea of what was forward, before the arrival 
in their parts of the English pilot Your Excellency found in 
this place. This is established by their Gazette, which Your 
Excellency will see with other news written by Don Antonio 
de Arrendondo, and by their having at once sent a 20-gun fri- 
gate and a sloop to this port, to verify the reports of said 
pilot. As a norther blew April 29 and 30, requiring them to 
beat and lie-to, it was impossible to send a launch to ask 

Siege of St. Augustine 19 

them why they had come. To make sure of their fears, 
they undoubtedly sent Edward Bullard in a sloop under the 
pretext of recovering a debt due him by these offices, and 
notes made by a few private individuals. But before open- 
ing these subjects, he handed me a letter from the Governor 
of San Jorge, of which I send a copy, as well as my answer, 
for the information of Your Excellency. 

In a letter written to Devis by the aforesaid English pilot, 
it is said that on the 15th of May after a journey of eight 
weeks three frigates arrived at San Jorge, one called "Fenix" 
of 20 guns, the other two transports, carrying 600 regulars 
taken on at Gibraltar and 40 bronze guns of all calibers ; 
further that General Oglethorpe was shortly expected. But 
as this news comes from persons of the same nation, in 
whom we can not have the slighest confidence, we remain 
in the same state of uncertainty, because we have no one who 
can make the necessary investigation. This would be costly, 
and as we have neither means nor trustworthy persons, we 
have no way of discovering the truth or of receiving news 
through a safe channel. There can be no doubt, however, 
that if this news be true, our Government must know it. I 
have no more to say on this subject, and subscribe myself, 


Florida, June 3, 1738. 

No. 57. 

After the departure of the transports with Don Philipe 
de Yturrieta and his troops, I learned that the English are 
fortifying Federico on the island of San Simon, where they 
are building a brick fort, and that they are doing the work 
from San Jorge, using a great number of pinnaces, and em- 
ploying more than 200 men, laboring night and day. 

Although this information may be feigned, and intended to 
alarm us, yet I deem it my duty to communicate it to Your 
Excellency by reason of any significance whatever it may 
have for the royal service. In order that Your Excellency 
might be fully possessed of the matter, and for the purpose 
also of acquiring a real certainty in respect of the operations 
actually in hand, I at one time thought of despatching one 
of my most active officers under some pretext, but I have 
abandoned this step, because it would be perfectly useless. 
For although he might be allowed to land, he would not be 

20 Letters of Montiano 

allowed to enter the settlements or converse with any one. 
To the same end I contemplated sending by land the Indian 
Juan Ygnacio with companions of his own choice ; after hav- 
ing made preparations, so many difficulties and hindrances 
came up, that I thought it best to suspend the matter for the 
present, waiting to see if time would not open a channel 
through which we might get the news we need. And al- 
though Don Antonio de Arredondo, while he was here, and 
I discussed this matter thoroughly, we have been unable so 
far to find such a channel. On the 9th instant, there set out 
for Apalachee Don Antonio de Arredondo, Don Pedro Lam- 
berto, and the foreman Portillo, preceded two days before 
by Don Miguel de Rivas with his detachment of 50 men, 
and the convicts who go with him to work on the fort at 
that place. They took with them thirty-two loads of pro- 
visions for the journey. One of the 20 troops of the ex- 
pedition, returning sick, tells me that they find fresh meat 
so abundant that they leave it behind at their halts : I take 
it they will make a good journey. 

Don Antonio de Arredondo is charged to reconnoiter the 
terrain best adapted for the settlement of the families des- 
tined for that province, and to execute this task with pru- 
dence so that neither the Indians nor the English shall de- 
tect our purpose, and by advancing occupy the ground be- 
fore the arrival of the families. Another possibility to guard 
against is that the English, knowing our plans, should in- 
duce the Indians to embarass their execution. I have no 
doubt that his good management will secure all proper 
means to this end. 

Florida, June 17, 1738. 

No. 63. 

In answer to Your Excellency's letter of June 16 re- 
ceived through Perito, I have the honor to take up the 
various subjects brought up. With regard to the reports 
received by Your Excellency from the Negros station ship, 
I wrote Your Excellency by Don Philipe de Yturrieta what 
news I had at the time, and I now send by my letter of June 
17, and the note of the 1st instant what has occurred since 
in respect of this matter. I can only add in this letter that 
the same person who gave me the news contained in the 
aforesaid note, declared under oath taken in accordance 

Siege of St. Augustine 21 

with his religion at the time his sloop was boarded,that eight 
companies of about one hundred men each, with its com- 
plement of officers, had come from England to Federico. I 
remark that as to this statement and that sent Devis, there 
is a difference of 200 men, and that whereas one says these 
troops went to San Jorge, the other says they went to Fe- 
derico. This is all that I can now say on this subject. The, 
two launches are under an arbor that I caused to be raised 
in the dockyard for their preservation. This arbor cost 
me toil enough, like everything else here ; for example, the 
work upon the castle through lack of laborers, whom I am 
obliged to assign in accordance with the annexed schedule. 
In spite of all these drawbacks, however, the work is going 
forward as rapidly as possible. All the foundations on one 
side of the castle are nearly finished, but the arches have 
not been begun because we have no hewn stone. This part 
we can not carry on, as we have only two oxen trained to 
work. Others are being broken in ; an interruption since 
men must be employed with them. We have thrown down 
the parapet of the curtain on the side whose foundation is 
laid, as well as the interior wall forming the barracks on that 
same side. I have set up a lime kiln and we are pushing on 
everything by all available means. 
Florida, July 4, 1738. 

No. 70. 

At this hour, being four of the afternoon, I have just 
received a post from Pupo, in which Don Pedro Lam- 
berto reports his arrival this day at that fort with a loss of 
two troopers, killed by the Uchee Indians on the way. 

He further tells me that although he charged upon them, 
he was unable to reap any advantage as they had retired 
to a very impenetrable wood. He contemplated awaiting 
the Indians whom he was bringing back with him from 
Apalachee, (the same he took out with him) who had fallen 
behind in the march, so as to join hands with them and at- 
tack the enemy. But he found this impossible, giving no 
reasons. He intimates that he is returning sick, which I 
take to be the reason why he continued his march without 
attempting the operation he had at one time contemplated. 
He also tells me that the English of the neighboring colonies 
have invited the Uchises to come in, and that these are pre- 

22 Letters of Montiano 

pared, to cross over to the said colonies. In the same post 
I received letters from Don Miguel de Ribas and Don An- 
tonio de Arrendondo reporting their uneventful arrival and 
that of the launch and sloop of Don Pedro Barranco. On 
this score then I am relieved of anxiety. 

The movements of those Uchee Indians, and the report 
of Don Pedro Lamberto that the English are having rela- 
tions with the Uchises, are matter for thought. For the 
this reason I am not only sending Your Excellency these 
reports by Pedro de Alcantara but I am duplicating them 
by hand, dispatching Luis Gomez to the Keys to give them 
to the master of the first ship he may meet there, with or- 
ders to the latter to proceed at once to Habana and deliver 
them to Your Excellency. 

I have nothing more to report at this time. 

Florida, July 22, 1738. 

No. 74. 

I have received at the hands of Marcos de Torres 12 let- 
ters of Your Excellency bearing date 16, 17, 18 and 24 of 
July, whose contents I shall report upon through the same 

I continue therefore the narration of events pending on 
the departure of Pedro de Alcantara respecting the assault 
made by the Uchee Indians on Fort Pupo. In order to 
discover the number of the Indians encamped at a league 
and a half from that fort near an arroyo, I sent out 29 of 
our Indians, of whom 7 withdrew. The 22 remaining sent 
me 'word that they were eager to make the reconnaissance 
on which they had sallied; after having been particularly 
cautioned not to expose themselves rashly, they reconnoi- 
tered from the said fort, and returned here, after, as they 
report, having carried out their orders. They informed me 
that in spite of their attempt to discover the Indians along 
the various roads, they had found only the trail of the four 
who followed the last post that I had sent to Apalachee. I 
am thus left in doubt whether their report be true, or wheth- 
er through fear they have failed to reconnoiter thoroughly. 
I am equally ignorant of the numbers of the Indians that 
advanced to Pupo, and of their halting place. 

A few backwoodsmen having arrived in this city with some 
live stock, were summoned before me, and informed me that 

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Siege of St. Augustine 23 

while out on a trip they had met a small detachment of 
Uchises busy looking for horses, from whom they learned 
that the English of New Georgia had thrown out in differ- 
ent directions bodies of Indians loyal to them, with orders 
to intercept the entire road to Apalachee, and to kill all the 
Spaniards possible, and that with this understanding, they 
were about to return when the meeting took place. Further, 
that although invited to return to their villages (by the 
Uchises), they paid no attention to the offer. The herds- 
men added that having withdrawn with the cattle they had 
succeeded in finding, they discovered at a distance of 14 
leagues from Pupo a body of 10 Indians by whom they were 
molested until they had the good fortune to fall in with Don 
Pedro Lamberto. This news, agreeing with the attack on 
the two rangers of this captain, with the attack on Pupo, 
and with the meeting of the 10 Indians who pursued the 
herdsmen, I communicate thus clearly to Your Excellency, 
for what it is worth to the royal service. 

In a letter of 18th ultimo, I told Your Excellency in re- 
spect of the desertion of the 8 convicts employed in making 
lime for the works here, that I had sent Don Sebastian San- 
chez with letters for the chiefs of these colonies,* asking 
for their restoration should they arrive in their territory. 
I profited by this occasion particularly to charge this officer 
to make the most particular inspection possible of the con- 
dition of the English colonies, to discover their plans, and 
inform himself about them in every way possible, bidding 
him to offer some reasonable reward if he should meet any 
one that could give him trustworthy news. This officer hav- 
ing returned and reported his investigations, I directed him 
to certify his account, being the same as the authentic tes- 
timony sent Your Excellency. At the same time, he told me 
he had not found the deserters, and that those Chiefs had 
offered their restoration in case they should come to their 
ports. I send at the same time to Your Excellency the 
letters they wrote in answer to mine. He also informs me 
that there is a great epidemic of smallpox at Saint George. 

Last night there arrived the two posts that I had sent 
to Don Miguel de Ribas, who informs me that there is noth- 
ing new in that fort, but that with respect to the news I gave 
him, he will display the greatest vigilance in the matter of 
Indian movements. To this end he sent a post to Quilate 

* English colonies are meant. Tr. 

24 Letters of Montiano 

for his information, who went in person to that fort, and 
confirmed the purpose of the Junta, as communicated to 
Your Excellency in a letter of the 23 ultimo. In this Junta 
the English of Georgia made a great effort to convene the 
Talapuches, Chicazees, Uchises, Chalaques, Catapas, and 
other nations. Although they all besought him equally, he 
remained firm in his resistance to these visits, sending news 
of this business instead of his chieftains, and in particular to 
two of especial loyalty, so that he might come and report to 
me all that might take place there. 

At the same time the aforesaid Don Miguel de Ribas re- 
ports the desertion from his fort of three soldiers and 18 
convicts. As for the soldiers, he has ordered them to be 
sought in Pensacola, to which point nearly all fugitives go. 
The convicts were caught at once, and are now under safe 
guard. The foreman Portillo and a few soldiers and con- 
victs remain sick, for which reason the work there is being 
continued with a pause. This is somewhat the case with 
the work on the castle here, because the mason Cantillo 
who remained here to take charge of it is simply ruined with 
a pox, so that he can do no work. Hence it has been neces- 
sary to send word to Don Pedro Ruiz Olano to fortify Pupo. 
To carry on here with the energy desirable, I beseech 
Your Excellency to send here all the convicts possible, a 
pair of good carts, and a few junta maestras, since for the 
lack of these things and of peons, the work goes on with 
great slowness, a source to me of the greatest anxiety. 

I have already given Your Excellency my opinion of the 
summons of the Indians, and I pledge my utmost powers 
to discover their plans ; and whether thus or through the 
disclosures of Quilate's trustworthy friends, I shall give 
Your Excellency at the earliest possible moment all the 
news that I may get, and should the case call for it I shall 
send one of the two launches here, so that no serious delay 
shall occur, or favorable opportunity miscarry. 

The Indian Juan Ygnacio has not returned, and I am 
very anxious about him, as I fear lest he may have fallen into 
the hands of those who came to Pupo : if he has escaped 
them, I trust that he will bring me very sure news. 

Florida, 8th of August, 1738. 

Siege of SI. Augustine 25 

No. 76. 


In my letter of Nov. 11, of last year, I gave Your Excel- 
lency the news I had got from Milord Ogletor's projects' 
made before the English court in respect of helping the cap- 
ture of this place, such as keeping ships at the mouth and 
along the keys of the new channel, so as to insult the fleets 
of merchant ships, galleons, quicksilver ships, and other ves- 
sels of Spanish commerce. Later on, I gave Your Excel- 
lency all the information that I had found it possible to 
collect. Lastly in letters of July 21 and August 8 I com- 
municated to Your Excellency the assault which the Yuches, 
friends of the English, made on Fort Pupo the night of July 
18; the death of the scouts of Don Pedro Lamberto ; and 
the news given by the Uchises to some hunters of ours that 
the English had sent out a few parties of Indians with orders 
to kill as many Spaniards as possible. I also inclosed a 
statement of the embassy Quilate sent to the commanding 
officer at Apalachee telling him that the English of New 
Georgia had twice caused to be summoned all the Indians 
of the Provinces ; as well as an account of Don Sebastian 
Sanchez (whom I had sent to the neighboring colonies to 
recover the eight convicts, deserters) of all that he had been 
able to see and learn. And now very recently, the Indian 
Juan Ygnacio has returned whom I had also sent to the 
same colonies to try, by using his native wit, to slip into them 
and discover as much as he could of the plans of the English, 
and of their condition. Likewise there have fled hither two 
Irishmen and one Scotchman. I am accordingly sending 
Your Excellency a careful account of their statements, and 
of all that the aforesaid Indian has declared he heard and 
saw, from the time he reached the English, until he could 
manage to slip away, in order that Your Excellency may 
be completely informed of all the news that I have been able 
to gather. Reflecting on certain portions of this account, 
I ought to point out to Your Excellency that Lieutenant 
Colonel Cocram, Governor of San Simon having asked our 
Indian if there were much money in Florida, and being an- 
swered that there was, said to him : "Soon that will all be 
the King of England's." With respect to this haughty 
statement, I may be allowed lo point out that this Governor 
would not make such assertions, were he not informed of 
his sovereign's desire to possess himself of this place. 

2 & Letters of Montiano 

In the next sentence, Cocram asked our Indian about the 
condition of this place and castle, and to his answer remark- 
ed : "When you hear it said that General Ogletor has ar- 
rived, whom I am expecting with 700 men, then will you see 
me put a war ship at the mouth of the bar, to cut off supplies ; 
and another on the keys, to embarrass vessels from Habana." 
It should be noticed and recollected here, that this plan 
forms part of Ogletor's dispositions. Further, Lieutenant 
Colonel Cocram has just come from London, and it is rea- 
sonable to believe that this officer must have been informed 
there that Ogletor's plans were approved, and that the lat- 
ter must have strengthened them by representing the ad- 
vantages accruing to his Britannic Majesty from the cap- 
ture of Florida. This plan may be regarded as adopted, see- 
ing that in another sentence he said affirmatively to our In- 
dian that before 2 or 3 years he would be seeing them mak- 
ing wine and aguardiente in this province ; and that for the 
purpose of mastering it, he had in Sabanto, San Andres and 
San Simon, 900 men, who with the 700 Ogletor was to bring, 
and the 5,000 and 6,000 Indians they would call together in 
less than 2 months would advance and disembark on the 
river St. John's near the fort of Picolata, the only point, as 
they say themselves, from which may be counted the 7 leagues 
to this position. 

In this last paragraph of his account our Indian says he 
heard Lieutenant Colonel Cocram, and Don Guillermo Haus- 
ton say that they had offered their Indians 50 dollars for 
the scalp of every Spaniard they might kill. The truth of 
this is sufficiently established by the news given our herds- 
men by the Indians, by the violent death of Don Pedro Lam- 
berto's two scouts, and by the surprise they attempted 
against Pupo. And the enlistment of the 5,000 or 6,000 In- 
dians spoken of in the preceding paragraph is verified by 
the embassy of the supreme chief Quilate. Upon which I 
have to remark that the aforementioned Governor Cocram 
would not have called the meeting for these outrages, with- 
out express orders from his Government. 

At this hour, half past eleven at night, I have received the 
report of the chief of a detachment which I am keeping in 
an armed launch in the river St. John's, that 25 Indians and 
2 Englishmen allowed themselves to be seen on the shores 
of the island of the same name. 

As this point is the very one they have fortified, and the 
one in which they tried to found a new settlement it must 

Siege of St. Augustine 27 

be two or three years ago, — not only is it plain that there 
must be more Indians and Englishmen, but also that they 
have come for the same purpose. But I am firmly resolved 
not to endure such insolence, and to make them abandon the 
idea if perchance they should have pitched on it. 

This is all the news I have been able to acquire by the 
means indicated, for the information of Your Excellency; 
it follows that the purposes of the English are verified ; that 
taking crafty advantage of the time selected for fixing the 
boundaries of the provinces on both sides, not only have they 
applied themselves with greatest zeal to the fortification of 
the ground that they have unjustly occupied, but that they 
are also taking the most effective measures to take this place, 
by starving it. I have also learned from Devis, (who vouch- 
es stoutly for it, on account of the confidence he has in his 
informant of the island of Barbadoes) that the number of 
troops Ogletor is to transport is i,oco men, and that as 
many as 20 ships of war are to be sent from London for sta- 
tion off Jamaica. It is that Your Excellency may take the 
best means to guard the fleets now in these American waters, 
and deign to take all the measures needed for the important 
work of finishing this castle, as well as the others suggested 
by Your Excellency's great discretion and knowledge as 
suited to the execution of these premeditated ideas, that 
I transmit these reports to Your Excellency. In order to 
lose no time, I do not answer the letters which I promised 
by Marcos de Torres to answer. I assure Your Excellency 
that I shall fail in no point to display the utmost vigilance 
for the safety of this place. To this end, I have asked the 
purveyor at New York to send me with the utmost despatch 
supplies for one year, because from now on those needed 
by the King, and designated by you can not be obtained 
through other channels. 

I had intended to send Juan Ygnacio the day of sailing 
to that city, (Habana) so as to give Your Excellency by 
word of mouth the account he gave me, but having declared 
to me that he had made a certain promise of vow, in case 
of a happy issue, to Our Lady of Cobre. I was unwilling 
to put him aboard with violence, and I let him go at his own 
free will to present himself to Your Excellency. 

I beg that he may return at the first opportunity. 
Florida, Aug. 31, 1738. 

28 Letters of Montiano 

No. 113. 


In a letter of October 10, Your Excellency is good enough 
to tell me that the squadron on nine war-ships under the 
command of Don Joseph Pizarro is now in your harbor, and 
that although you have received letters from Spain by a 
despatch boat on its way to Vera Cruz, the official ones throw 
no light on the question of peace or war, but that the private 
ones say the English have corrected their schemes. Fur- 
ther, that it is felt our differences will be compounded by 
gentle and friendly methods, a feeling shared by Your Ex- 
cellency for reasons soundly set forth. On this subject I 
feel it my duty to say to Your Excellency that I am of the 
same opinion, for I have had a thorough understanding with 
Devis, and succeeded in making him reveal the present state 
of these* colonies, their news and plans. He assures me there 
is nothing new except the arrival of Milord Ogletor, and as 
this officer is so captious and crossgrained, I am astonished 
that having come, he should remain quiet, and although I 
distrust this peaceful attitude as being perhaps only the 
deepest artifice, yet I regard it as nothing less than miracu- 
lous. And so I am diminishing in no respect my vigilance 
over all the measures they may take, nor my watch of the 
river St. John's and the forts Pupo and Picolata. I am ad- 
vancing these works as much as possible, and searching into 
the intentions of the English, for Your Excellency's informa- 
tion in case they should have any significance, while they 
are not being put into effect, and an agreement is reached 
in respect of the differences set afoot by their unjust seizure 
of territory belonging to this Province. And, if I should 
have any urgent news for Your Excellency and no earlier 
vessel to send it by, I should despatch a launch, as I have 
before told Your Excellency, in order that Your Excellency 
may not be without it, and that such dispositions may be 
made for the King's service as may in your wisdom see'm 

Florida, 3 January, 1739. 

Don Pedro Lamberto has told me that a soldier fired at 
Ogletor, and that he got this from Devis, who however con- 
cealed it from me, and until he left the port said nothing 
of it to me. 

* The English. Tr. 

Siege of St. Augustine 29 

On Nov. 21, 23 negroes of both sexes and children came 
here fleeing from Puerto Real, nineteen belong to Devis ; 
eight are workmen. I am struggling with all the freemen to 
establish them in Moze half a league from here to the north, 
so that they may there form a settlement, and cultivate 
those lands. I have appointed Don Sebastian Sanchez to 
take charge, and Don Joseph de Leon to instruct them in 
the mysteries of our holy religion. He is a young man of 
parts, in the church, and serves as notary to the Lord Bishop, 
with whose approval he has undertaken this work. He is 
acting as parish priest until the King shall have made known 
his good pleasure. The free negroes here are 38 in all : and 
it is not impossible they may form a good village. 

No. 126. 

A man having appeared on the edge of the other bank 
of the river Saint John's the guard launch crossed over to 
examine him, and took him aboard to bring him here. He 
arrived on the 16th ultimo, and we got from him the declara- 
ton herewith. From it Your Excellency can determine the 
condition of Georgia and of its fortifications, with all the 
other points that seemed to me worthy of inquiry. If what 
he says is true, it is possible that General Ogletor is mak- 
ing but little progress, since I know through another channel 
that over 12,000 dollars are owing in New York, and that 
for this reason, they are unwilling to send him supplies from 
any of their colonies where, on account of his daring dispo- 
sition, he is in disfavor, as well as from the reputation he 
has acquired of being a poor paymaster. This is all I have 
to offer on this point, remaining, etc. 

Florida, 3 March, 1739. 

No. 133. 


On March 9 last, a sloop arrived in this port from San 
Jorge having on board a Lieutenant Colonel, a member of 
Parliament and an interpreter, who presented a letter of 
instructions and authority to act from various citizens of 
those Colonies, and two letters from Don Diego Ogletor, 
commanding General of all the colonies of Carolina and from 
Don Guillermo Bull, Governor of San Jorge, asking for an 

jo Letters of Montiano 

audience on the subject of their mission. This was to ask 
for the restoration of the negro fugitives, deserters from the 
neighboring colonies. I received them into my own house 
and having heard their case through the medium of three 
interpreters, I answered that I deeply regretted my lack 
of authority to grant their wishes, inasmuch as the orders 
of the King contained no authority to deliberate on the 
matter of returning fugitive negroes who might take refuge 
in this Presidio, but on the contrary the express direction 
to set them at liberty. I could not thus make the exchange 
they offered of the eight convicts deserters from us for their 
slaves. I suggested that they apply to their own Govern- 
ment for a statement of the principles set forth in respect of 
the reciprocity they wish to establish with us, and that 
for my part, I should do the same, and make a report to the 
council of their request. 

From the expression of their countenances, they were very 
much pleased with my decision, and with the courtesy shown 
them during the week they remained here without leaving 
my side for a single moment, and so returned well satisfied 
to their colonies, giving many signs of gratitude with very 
courteous compliments. And in order that Your Excellency 
may be informed of their claims and of the answers that I 
gave to the letters they brought, I send Your Excellency cop- 
ies of their letters, and of one of mine, these being all alike 
on the principal subject. I shall be very glad to receive the 
approval of Your Excellency in this matter. 

Florida, April 2, 1739. 

No. 151. 


Under date of June 9, Your Excellency is good enough 
to tell me, that by royal order Your Excellency recommends 
the same course as that decided on by me in respect of the 
eight convicts, deserters, and that in consequence it seems 
indispensable that fresh negotiations should be opened in 
the matter. Your Excellency further directs that I should 
communicate their results separately with anything else that 
I might obtain and learn on good foundation, in order to 
make report to his Majesty. Having thus a royal order to 
bring to the notice of the commander of Carolina under some 
indifferent pretext, Article 2 of the convention, I took advan- 
tage of it to send a launch to San Jorge, assuming what 

Siege of St. Augustine 31 

Your Excellency will see in the copy herewith, with the 
Captain of Horse Don Pedro Lamberto aboard. He 
was to consult the physicians of that city in regard to 
the serious illness of a girl who has been ailing for many 
years. Having executed his mission, he reports to me that 
he did not meet Don Diego Ogletorp in San Jorge, to 
whom as commanding General, I addressed the notice in- 
viting his attention to Article 2. They told him the General 
was absent on a journey of more than 300 miles, for which 
reason he delivered my despatches to his lieutenant, who 
though invited to, nevertheless declined to open them, ex- 
cusing himself on the plea that he had been ordered only to 
receive despatches of whatsoever nature, and to send them 
on, which he did. Having receipted for the despatches, they 
gave him (Lamberto) other despatches in duplicate, being 
an answer to mine that I sent by the deputies from that city 
and their Parliament. A copy of this I am enclosing for 
Your Excellency's information : inviting attention to the 
omission of all mention of the eight convicts, deserters. As 
he (Lamberto) was not received as were their deputies here, 
nor was allowed, as on former occasions, to walk about the 
place, he was unable to learn anything worthy of commu- 
nication, except that in the first settlements he was better 
treated, and thus could learn of the discord prevailing be- 
tween the latest squatters and the people of San Jorge, and 
between the latter and Don Diego Ogletorp, whose su- 
preme command they refuse to recognize. 

I believe that Don Pedro Lamberto's restraint, and the 
refusal to allow his people to walk about are due to the 
fears of the negroes in which they live, and also lest some 
of our people should make suggestions or incite them to 
flight, a thing against which they guard mightily, since they 
depend on the negroes for success or failure. 

This is all I have to send to Your Excellency, etc. 

Florida, August 14, 1739. 

Since writing the foregoing, Don Pedro Lamberto tells 
me that while in San Jorge he met Juan Zevallos, one of the 
eight convicts that deserted from the lime kiln ; that he 
tried to return with him, which the Governor would not al- 
low: and that the rest go about freely in those plantations, 
according to the said Zevallos. I have caused Don Pedro 
Lamberto to certify this news, and I am sending it to the 
Court, with copies of letters treating of the matter. 

j2 Lette) s of Montiano 

No. 157. 

Don Diego Pablo sends me despatches from Apalachee, 
saying that he has learned that the English had set out with 
more than 100 negroes to build a fort; that the negroes rose, 
slew all the English, and hamstrung all the horses ; that two 
large bodies of Indians, had gone forth, one in the direction 
of the road to San Marcos, and the other toward this point. 
That this news comes from Quilate, and that he was inves- 
tigating everything particularly, and where they intended 
to build the fort; that the negroes had scattered, and two 
of them (Portillo says four) had arrived at a village of the 
Provinces, and afterwards disappeared ; that they asked a 
few Indians encountered in the woods, the road to the 
Spaniards ; that this news caused him much anxiety. It 
appears to me that the fort must be a means in the neigh- 
borhood of Carolina to keep the negroes from deserting, and 
that having rebelled, troops of Indians were sent out after 
them, and so the news causes no great anxiety. But nev- 
ertheless, in case they were occupying some new post in 
violation of the Convention, I sent out Don Jose Leonor to 
reconnoiter, and he has returned from reconnoitering St. 
Mary's, and I have scouts in other parts. 

So far there is no other news ; no despatches having fol- 
lowed from Apalachee, there is nothing to fear : Don Di- 
ego Pablo having concealed from me Quilate's presence 
in his fort, I have Juan Ygnacio there with three other In- 
dians and two or three Uchises loyal to us. 

The results I shall communicate promptly to Your Excel- 
lency as I now report the arrival yesterday of a sloop from 
New York. 

Florida, Aug. 19, 1739. 

No. 180. 


In letters of the 4 and 14 of October of last year, I gave 
Your Excellency an exact account of what had been done 
in these parts by the different English ships, from, the sec- 
ond day of the said month and year, and* I have now to in- 

* A considerable portion of this disnatch beginning at this point is to be found 
translated in the Southern Quarterly Review for April, 1844, pp. 394 et seq. This 
translation very considerably modified and altered, is reproduced here, with omis- 
sions supplied and errors corrected. Tr. 

Siege of St. Augustine jj 

form Your Excellency, that on the 22d of December, there 
arrived at this place, a cavalry soldier, of the guard of St. 
John's Bar, which is about twelve leagues north of this' port, 
who says, that he saw the tracks of 25 or 35 men, at the small 
creeks about half way of the road; and immediately another 
cavalry soldier of the same guard, came with the news, that 
one of our Indians had reported, that on the banks of the 
St. John's, he had seen the tracks of more than three hundred 
white men. 

On the 23d, the Ensign of cavalry Don Lorenzo Joseph 
de Leon, and one soldier, arrived at this place with report 
of having seen at the same small creeks, a great number of 
Indians, and white people. 

On the 24th council was held to decide whether it would 
be advisable to demolish the fort of Diego, or reinforce it, 
and whether our force was sufficiently strong to attack the 
enemy. We resolved to send a relief of eleven men, and that 
it would not be expedient to weaken this garrison, for the 
reasons set forth in the minutes of the council. The same 
day, we began to hasten various works looking to the se- 
curity, and defence of the place. 

On the 25th, a trooper came in and some of our Indians, 
bringing intelligence, that they had discovered the fresh 
tracks of 30 men, at the distance of four leagues from this 
place; and Father Francisco Gomez, parish priest, of the 
village of Ayamon, where the Indians of Pozatalaca estab- 
lished themselves last year to cultivate more fertile lands, 
reported that in the neighborhood of that place, seven or 
eight leagues from this, about 10 Uchises Indians had shown 

On the 26th, I sent the Ensign of cavalry, Don Alonzo 
Joseph, to scout the country, and collect all the cattle pos- 
sible, to be crossed to Santa Anastacia Island; I also sent 
out four Indians on the same scouting mission, charging 
them with the promise of twenty-five dollars to take an En- 
glishman, or hostile Indian prisoner. In the afternoon, the 
Ensign returned with 93 head of cattle, and I sent the Sub- 
lieutenant Don Manuel Garcia, in four small boats, to cut 
stakes for different uses of the Royal service, and for the 
defence of the place. 

On the 27th, I despatched the Ensign Don Antonio So- 
lana, to bring in the horses. Don Cristobal de Torres, Bar- 
tolome Ramirez, and other residents went out on the same 
business. I charged Don Francisco Menendez, and other 

34 Letters of Montiano 

residents, with the business of crossing the cattle over to 
Santa Anastacia Island already mentioned. I sent the In- 
dian Juan Ygnacio, with five other Indians, to the river of 
Picotala, which is that called St. John's, to observe the 
movements of the enemy. 

On the 28th, I sent out four other Indians by land, on 
the same errand ; and in the night, two of the Indians who 
went with Juan Ygnacio, returned with the news, that on 
that day, the fort of Picolata was attacked by 240 English, 
and Indians, and that its garrison of seven men, had de- 
fended it valiantly, from ten in the morning, till 5 in the 
afternoon, at which hour the enemy made a shameful re- 

On the 29th. I despatched the Cacique Chislala, with 
eight Indians of his choice, to scout the country, and 
charged to take hostile Indian, or Englishman prisoner alive. 
This same day, one of the soldiers in the affair of the fort 
of Picolata, came in and with him the Indians Juan Ygnacio, 
and Juan Savina, who said that those who attacked the fort, 
were 150 English, and 30 Indians, that the fire lasted four 
hours ; that our casualties were the wounding of the artillery- 
man and, that two of the enemy were seen to fall, one of 
whom appeared to be an officer, for he wore a laced hat, and 
was taken off by four men. The soldier informed me, that 
the fort was attacked by two mortars firing large shell (Gre- 
nadas Reales) and gave me a few splinters of those that fell 
within the fort. 

On the 30th. the beforementioned Father, parish priest of 
Ayamon, arrived with the news, that on the 29th Uchises In- 
dians had killed Fayaquisca, in the neighborhood of that 
town. On this same day the four Indians sent out on the 
26th, returned, and informed me, that having been at St. 
Mateo, which is on the St. John's, they saw the tracks of 
Indians who had passed back and forth, and though they 
made every exertion to discover whether they had made, or 
were constructing a fort in the vicinity of that river, they 
could see only boats going to this part of the Saint John's, 
and they debated whether the Indians and whites lately 
seen could be found there, because the tracks of the Indians 
all made for the said part of the Saint John's. 

On the 4th of January, 1740, the Cacique Chislala re- 
turned with all his Indians, and assured me that they had 
been to the St. John's, that they had thoroughly reconnoiter- 
ed those Darts and had seen there only the camps (ranchos) 

Siege of St. Augustine J5 

where the hostile Indians had been, and that according to the 
signs left behind there were 134 of them. They made thir- 
ty-six fires, which covered the English, who were, they 
thought, in number 200. 

On the 7th, I despatched Juan Ygnacio, and Geronimo, 
with three other Indians, each to scout, and examine the 
landing places. 

On the 8th, the artillery man, wounded in the affair of 
Picolata, died. The same day, I sent Don Pedro Lamberto 
Horrutiner with 25 horsemen of his company, 25 infantry, 
and 30 Indians and free negroes (of those who are fugitives 
from the English Colonies), to scout the country, and use 
diligence to capture a few Indian scouts who are supposed 
to be in this neighborhood, and they returned at night with- 
out any news. 

On the 13th, the parish priest of the before mentioned 
town of Ayamon, informed me that at 9 in the morning, they 
were attacked by 46 Uchises Indians, who badly wounded, 
and scalped an Indian who was outside of the little fort they 
have there. 

On the 1 8th, the Indian Juan Ygnacio returned with some 
of his Indians, and report having seen in the St. John's river, 
at a place called St. Nicholas, 12 vessels consisting of 3 
schooners, 2 sloops, and 7 canoes ; and that it seemed to 
him they must have had 700 men aboard. This day, I des- 
patched two troopers, with two Indians, to see if the ves- 
sels landed people at Salamatoto, and the two Indians to 
pass to Picolata, to watch the movements of the enemy. 

On the 19th, the Indian Geronimo, companion of Juan Yg- 
nacio returned, to report that he had seen in the St. John's 
two boats which kept in the middle of the river, without 
moving; it is a question if they are posted here to discover 
if any armament of our enters the bar, in which case one 
would be detached to alarm the neighboring Colonies, and 
the other to alarm the 12 vessels at St. Nicholas. The In- 
dians returned who went out yesterday, and say, they went 
near to Picolata and could see nothing; afterwards, it was 
discovered that these two Indians did not go half the way. 
The two troopers who went out with them reconnoitered 
the estuary of Nicoloa, and finding it unoccupied returned. 

On the same 19th day, I sent out Laureano Solana, Ser- 
geant of cavalry, with eight soldiers, and four Indians, to 
discover if the before mentioned boats were still in the 
Picolata River, and whether they had taken the fort of Pupo. 

j6 Letters of Montiano 

On the 20th, the Sergeant returned at I in the morning, 
with report of having seen a great number of men and fires 
at Picolata; but as he made his reconnaissance at night, he 
could not see the fort, nor can he say precisely how many 
men there were. 

On the same day, I sent out Juan Ygnacio, and eleven 
Indians, to make proper reconnoisance, and endeavor to 
take an Indian, or Englishman alive. 

On the 21 st, the Indian Juan Ygnacio returned with his 
party, and assured me, that on arriving at Picolata, they 
found the fort in ashes, and from there, saw that the En- 
glish vessels were near the Fort of Pupo. That all about 
it, were many people in red coats and that the said fort was 
in the hands of the enemy, for they saw many people go out 
and in, up and down. , , 

On the 22d, I despatched Diego de Espinosa, who is a resi- 
dent of this place, well acquainted with the country, with 
six cavalrymen to reconnoiter, and mark the landings of 
St. John's, St. Matheo, and St. Nicholas. 

On the 24th, Diego de Espinosa returned, with the six 
troopers that accompanied him, who reports that he saw 
three soldiers' tents on the St. John's, opposite St. Nicholas. 
He endeavored to get near to discover what they 
contained, but hearing the discharge of a gun, which ap- 
peared to be a signal that his party was discovered, he re- 
tired quickly, fearing lest they should cut off his retreat. 

On the 27th, I sent out the Lieutenant of cavalry, Don 
Romualdo Ruiz del Moral, with 25 horsemen, 25 Indians 
and 25 free negroes, to scour the country, to reconnoiter 
Picolata and Pupo, and with the greatest circumspection, 
and precaution, to make a most serious effort to capture 
an Indian, or Englishman alive, by attacking those on this 
side if it could be done, having due regard for the prudence 
necessary in a viglant march, and for an exact examination 
of the river, in order to estimate the number of people on 
this side. And according to information acquired, he was to 
attack them or not, or annoy them on some side, at no special 

On the 29th, the Lieutenant Don Romualdo Ruiz del Mor- 
al returned with his party, with report that they reached 
the landing of Picolata, but could not on account of rain 
and fog, inform themselves of the state of the fort of Pupo, 
but they thought they saw it, and heard the sound of a drum 

Siege of St. Augustine 37 

from it.* In this state of affairs I am compelled to send 
Your Excellency shortly our launch with this intelligence 
so that in possession of it, and of orders from the King, 
Your Excellency may see fit to take all the steps suited to 
the victualling and fortification of this place, points in re- 
spect of which it is absolutely impossible to do anything 
whatever here. 

As regards the said river St. John's or Picolata, it is an 
arm of the sea some three quarters of a league in width, 
measured accurately by different Engineers, entering over 
the bar of the same name, and emptying at the entrance 
of Apalachee, or the southern Coast, according to the belief 
of the most experienced Indians. I declare categorically 
that I have no naval forces to oppose to the enemy's ; but 
having them, it were easy to introduce them over the same 
bar, to go out to meet the enemy and punishing him severe- 
ly, to guard these dominions. Lacking such forces how- 
ever, there is no remedy, and that is precisely why I have 
not sent out by land, a large detachment, for it would re- 
quire at the same time, a strong expedition by sea. Now 
supposing the English should blockade this position, as 
they have threatened, and should for the success of this 
plan make a great effort to attack the forts of Picolata and 
Pupo, as a feint to force me to throw out a large body of 
troops, it is not to be doubted that, being with their Indian 
allies masters of the country, they would endeavor strenu- 
ously to cut their (our troops') communications with us. If 
unfortunately these should fail to retire in good order, the 
English would then with slight opposition and no hindrance 
force the entrance of the Port with their boats, keeping them 
ready for this purpose in the channels running from the 
aforementioned bar of Saint John into the interior which 
would be under their control. 

They would thus take possession of this position with 
great ease, seeing there would be no one to defend it, if they 
had first routed our troops. 

Moreover, even if I had without any zeal come to such 
a decision, one that I should myself call rash and illogical, 
no glory would have befallen our arms. For the English 
controlling the said St. John's with their heavy launches able 
to carry guns of medium caliber, and being thus enabled to 
enter this river and give support at any time by these same 

* The extract in the Southern Quarterly Review ends here. Tr. 

38 Letters of Montiano 

channels intersecting the land of their islands from bar to 
bar as far as that of Puerto Real fifty leagues distant, no 
effort not maritime in character was of the slightest use. 
In respect of the danger that I have mentioned, even if their 
troops in these parts had been disembarked and had allow- 
ed ours to approach within gun-shot range, they could have 
played us the trick of jumping aboard the small boats, and of 
opening fire from the larger ones, and so beat us in a piteous 
fashion. And then this place would have been in a worse 
state than it was before the reenforcement, which would have 
given rise to the royal displeasure, and would have been the 
beginning of its ultimate destruction. 

These are not the only reasons inspired by the safeguard- 
ing of this position, for I have others palpably of equal im- 
portance and weight. For under the supposition that neith- 
er Your Excellency nor I have received orders from the 
• ing leading us to believe that the English would occupy 
the seas with their ships, my duty first of all is to economize 
the stores of this place so that its inhabitants may not per- 
ish. And I may remark most frankly to Your Excellency 
that nothing expends them so much as detachments : and for 
one of importance, such as would be the case with sending 
400 or 500 men, through deserts, uncultivated thickets, im- 
penetrable and dangerous woods possibly occupied by the 
enemy, certain special supplies would be indispensable, which 
could not be furnished without serious loss for the future, 
to say nothing of the sally being probably fruitless. 

To the important end of keeping this place for His Ma- 
jesty, of supplying and strengthening it as much as possible, 
I have had recourse to Your Excellency on various oc- 
casions : and I now with the greatest emphasis repeat my 
supplications, begging Your Excellency to help it with all 
that is needful to this end, in conformity with the orders 
which the King has given Your Excellency for this purpose. 

I further declare to Your Excellency that to the excellent 
strong reasons why Your Excellency should give it at- 
tention, must be added at the same time the lamentable 
circumstance that this place has gone without pay since 
'36, as Your Excellency must know. *For the agent who 
went over to receive it, Don Pedro de Escobedo, since the 
beginning of '37 neither has arrived here nor do we know 
his whereabouts ; there is a melancholy rumor that he has 

* This passage is obscure in the original. Tr. 


W e s t e r 






F L O R i !>Ca 

.• < 










Siege of St. Augustine 39 

been shipwrecked or fallen into the hands of the English. 
All these reasons induce me humbly to supplicate Your Ex- 
cellency to take the measures so urgently needed to supply 
and fortify this place as the King desires : in the mean time 
I shall apply myself diligently to its preservaton with the 
greatest zeal and firmness, even to giving up my life with it, 
according to my oath made and sworn to His Majesty. 

I likewise invite Your Excellency's attention to the fact 
that the two aforesaid forts of Picolata and Pupo were con- 
structed solely for the purpose of defending and sheltering 
from the continual attacks of Indian allies of the English, 
the mails that go to and come from Apalachee, and that 
both were situated on the banks of the aforesaid St. John's, 
one to the north and the other to the south, at a distance 
of three-quarters of a league, the width of the river, without 
being able to help each other. In spite of being small and 
built of wood, they have defended themselves various times 
against the 1 Indians that have attacked them. Even now 
that of Picolata resisted four or five hours in spite of being 
invested by more than 200 men. The garrison being com- 
pelled by the destruction of the fort through shell fire, took 
advantage of the retreat of the enemy, their chief so they 
say, having been killed, to shelter itself behind Pupo, until by 
my order it withdrew to this place in the same canoe that 
took it over, by a channel that empties (into the river) three 
leagues away. The said fort of Pupo defended itself va- 
liantly nearly two days : for although at this moment I do 
not know where its garriso^i is, ten men and a sergeant with 
an Indian kept to report on anything unusual, yet partisans 
who went out there during those two days, tell me they 
heard much obstinate and continuous artillery fire, until 
on the second day, at about half-past two of the afternoon, 
they heard a salvo of seven guns, and that afterward the fire 
ceased. I am deeply grieved over the loss of those twelve 
men, without being able to take any satisfaction, for al- 
thoughl gave the commander a written order to defnd him- 
self with honor if attacked, and only in case of lack of am- 
munition and stores, t capitulate life and arms safe, so as 
to return to this place with honor, yet it would seem as 
though they had suffered from some perfidy, whose purpose 
so far I am ignorant of. 

I have no more to report on these matters to Your Ex- 
cellency whose obedient servant I am, etc. 

Florida, January 31, 1740. 

4° Letters of 

No. 181. 

From the journal herewith Your Excellency will under- 
stand the operations of the English, and how they showed 
themselves on December 22, near San Juan, coming no 
farther in than the little creeks. As I believe they might pro- 
ceed to the attack of the fort of San Diego, I increased its 
garrison, with the understanding that if invested in regular 
form, it would be surrendered in short time, by reason of 
its faulty construction, lack of a ditch, and possession of 
but two ramparts opposed to the enemy, (which Espinosa had 
thought ample, when he built the work to shelter his slaves 
against Indian surprises) to say nothing of the fact that 
situated as it was at a league from the landing, it could not 
be succored save at much risk, on account of the country 
being open and flat : and it was perhaps not the intention of 
the enemy to attack it ; but, in case I sent some small body 
equal in number to that seen in the creeks, to surprise this 
body in the plain, inclosing it from the woods surroundng 
the fort, and so destroy it. Accordingly I remained easy on 
this score until I got better information as to their numbers 
from the scouts that I kept outside ; and in this condition of 
affairs I got news that on the 28th, 150 Englishmen and In- 
dians had attacked Picolata, having with them two standards, 
•chests, and two mortars for shells. Two of these (shells) 
fell inside the fort, and finished its ruin, shored up as it was 
and ready to fall : at the first fire, the gun was dismounted, 
and nevertheless they maintained themselves with valor from 
ten in the morning to five in the afternoon, when they (the 
enemy) retired with a few wounded, among them an officer. 
The defenders seeing the bad condition of the fort, aban- 
doned it, fearing the return of the enemy in greater force, 
or lest it fall upon them. 

On our side the artilleryman was wounded in the 
foot by a musket ball from which he died there. 

On the 1 8th as a detachment of infantry, cavalry and con- 
victs was about to set out to rebuild the fort of Picolata, I 
ordered it to suspend its march until the return of Juan Yg- 
nacio, who had gone out to reconnoiter the river. The same 
day he returned, reporting having seen coming into the 
river, 3 schooners, 2 sloops and 2 canoes heavily laden and 
filled with people, the greater part dressed in red, in his 
opinion some 700 men. It appeared to me that this expedi- 
tion was directed against the fort at Pupo, and as neither 

Siege of St. Augustine 41 

my forces nor its situation were sufficient, nor admitted of 
sending any support, I undertook nothing from the impos- 
sibility of the case. 

From the reports of the scouts there is reason to believe 
that 10 men and one sergeant garrisoning Pupo held out 
two days, because for that length of time cannon fire never 
ceased; and that the Indian who was within to bring news, 
must either have fallen into the hands of the enemy, or was 
unable to come out. 

In this conjuncture, wishing to know if they were forti- 
fying on this side, Espinosa told me at San Nicholas, the 
narrowest part of the river some 16 leagues from here, he 
had discovered three tents, and many people, but not a single 
boat : that trying to approach the bank, he heard various gun- 
shot : and as that part of the country is shaped like a horse- 
shoe, he withdrew to a point of safety, asking himself if the 
advance guards were making signals. He assures me that 
no other inexperienced person would have gone forth, be- 
cause of the musket fire. 

As for the sight of troops in San Nicholas, I believe they 
were fortifying at that point, because of the care they took 
not to be seen, and because the place is advantageous and 

The difficulty of getting information in our numerous 
thickets, lagoons and swamps, is so great as to make the 
thing almost impossible; absolutely none but Spaniards can 
succeed here without risk of loss or of useless effort, be- 
cause it is necessary to advance through water the greater 
part of the day, and even the Indians are unavailable, be- 
cause they are so few in number. 

The harassing of the Uchises, who go down to the south- 
ern coasts looking for slaves, and returning pass through 
Ayamon or las Rosas, where the Yamases have established 
themselves, has caused a withdrawal to this point : to leave 
the fort is to invite death. We are thus surrounded by en- 
emies, unable to leave the place without danger. As long 
as our territory is not peopled, thus driving out the English, 
the chief cause of these evils, these Provinces will have no 

Our residents cause me much annoyance, for most of them 
ask permission to go to that city (Habana) alleging the lack 
of food from which they are suffering, as well as that to which 
they will be subjected with the continuance of the war, and 
also the misfortunes and privations due to the lack of pay, 

42 Letters of Monti an o 

Although these reasons are sound, and might induce m? to 
send away hence all useless mouths, yet the total absence 
of all information as to the state the present differences may 
produce, keeps me from approving them. As it is the wish 
of the King that these provinces be peopled, it is clear he 
would be displeased if any one were allowed to withdraw. 
Moreover, it will be very difficult to make them return once 
away, and the burden will be extreme if this position should 
be besieged on account of the small enclosure of the cas- 
tle, and the scarcity of food. For all these reasons the roy- 
al officers and I after conferences have decided that for the 
present no one shall be allowed to move, until better infor- 
mation enables us to come to some settlement. 
Florida, January 31, 1740. % 

No. 187. 

I profit by the delay in the departure of our launch, caused 
by the uncertainty of the times, and running from the 15th 
instant, to inform Your Excellency of the return last night 
of Juan Ygnacio. I sent him out on the 19th with ten oth- 
er working Indians on the important mission of recon- 
noitering the country and river near Picolata, and notwith- 
standing my most particular instructions, and offer of a 
suitable reward for the capture of an Englishman or Indian 
ally, so that I might learn something in respect of the con 
ditions surrounding the settlers of those colonies, and of 
their ideas and intentions, the said Juan Ygnacio tells me 
he could not so freely carry out this plan, because at the 
very outset he encountered a thousand difficulties. Having 
put out of the inlet of Tocoy, which empties into the Saint 
John's, in a small canoe which he kept hidden there, he went 
south along the banks thereabouts so as better to carry out 
his ideas. While carefully proceeding thus, he discovered 
a scow moored on the very banks he was skirting, and de- 
ciding they could be seen in spite of the thick mist, they put 
about, and landing a little farther back, divided into two 
squads. They then approached the English, who were in- 
side an orange grove collecting the fruit thereof, and who 
on being fired at, hastily took flight. As they were assemb- 
ling *o go on board the scow, our Indians who were following 
at tul! speed, opened a continuous fire on them from the 
shelter of the pine tree trunks, killing at least two of them, 

Siege of St. Augustine 43 

and possibly more. For the first to' fall having been the 
helmsman, they carefully observed that no one took to the 
oars ; the Indians keeping up an incessant fire on the mass 
of those who were rowing, and growing more and more 
absorbed in the struggle, heard a cannonshot fired, and dis- 
covered that it had proceeded from a schooner painted red, 
coming up under sail from the south on the river itself, and 
having many people on board, part of whom undertook to 
disembark. On remarking this, they (the Indians) with- 
drew to a place of safety, and night coming on, they returned 
to this Presidio with the loss of their canoe, the recovery 
of which was impossible by reason of the danger involved. 

In respect of all this, I must tell Your Excellency that the 
English have occupied with their boats the entire river at 
Picolata, and that their navigation southward is for the pur- 
pose of embarrassing communication with Apalachee, of 
winning over the Uchises, and of capturing any mail coming 
or going. And as our suffering this state of affairs is a re- 
buff of His Majesty's sacred honor, a foul stain on his cath- 
olic arms, and an insult exciting the rage of our nation, I 
humbly supplicate Your Excellency to be good enough to 
send me here the galliots of the expedition well manned with 
good crews, under a mariner of proved valor and skill, for 
without this help, it is a physical impossibility for me to car- 
ry out my plans, and as a matter of fact we shall see our- 
selves shut up in a corner, without a single man that dares 
leave the place for any purpose whatever. For both rea- 
sons, there will ensue the fatal results consequent on a lack 
of whatever small matters a commonwealth needs for its 
preservation. Heeding these matters and the glory of the 
King in satisfaction for his insults, I renew Your Excel- 
lency the suggestions looking to the maintenance and pre- 
servation of this fortress, and to our most complete amends. 

At the same time, I supplicate Your Excellency to be 
good enough to order the sending here of two three-fold 
blocks with a hundred fathoms of hawser instead of the fifty 
that I asked on the 15th instant. 

In order that Your Excellency may remain in no doubt, 
respecting my plans, I have to report that on the river St. 
John's or Picolata there is a stretch called Mojoloa such 
that, according to the people who know the country, all boats 
trying to go south on the said river, whether to succor Pupo, 
or to dominate it on all sides by maritime force, would be 
necessarily exposed to musket fire. For although the river 

44 Letters of Montiano 

is quite wide along li^re, the channel runs very close to the 
said stretch, the rest being shoal impassible even by a small 

Seeing that a fort here with six or seven eight-pounders, 
and a garrison of fifty men under a captain would shut in 
Pupo beyond all possibility of succor, I have resolved to 
carry out this idea ; and to that end beg Your Excellency 
for the galliots which alone can execute it, transport the 
artillery, free the river of hostile boats, capture those already 
in it, and recover the fort at Pupo, since its garrison would 
surrender without assault. These results accomplished, I 
shall bring the galliots, or some of them, to this port, for 
the defense of its bar, and strive to induce the greatest num- 
ber of Indians available to go and settle in the immediate 
neighborhood of the new fort of Mojoloa, and cause the set- 
tlers to go forth with their slaves to continue the cultivation 
of the plantations they have been developing these past two 
years. The approval of these ideas by Your Excellency 
would give me the liveliest satisfaction ; and I hope Your 
Excellency will be good enough to send me the help I am 
asking for, jealous as Your Excellency is of the better ser- 
vice of the King, and interested in the growth of these pro- 
vinces in virtue of their having been entrusted to you by His 
Majesty, principally, doubtless, because of the many proofs 
Your Excellency has given of great talents, leadership and 

Florida, February 23, 1740. 



The English have gone in boats as far as Pirigirigua 15 
leagues south of this, and there is reason to believe they are 
seeking an exit to the Keys, such as it is possible this un- 
known river may have, and to the Bay of Carlos and Tam- 
pa. This would be most hurtful to us, and even if the honor 
of our arms is of no concern, it is important to drive them 
out of the river ; this calls for a sea force, under whose pro- 
tection the pass would be closed to them, and introduction 
made impossible : without such forces nothing can be done. 
I trust that Your Excellency's zeal in the royal service will 
give the help I am begging, so that this place may be freed 
of the restraint from which it is suffering. 

Siege of St. Augustine 45 

No. 191. 

In a letter of the 23d of last. month I reported to Your 
Excellency all that had occurred up to that date, and among 
other matters, Your Excellency must have noticed the plan 
of building a new fort on the river St. John's at the part called 
Mojoloa, in order to attack the passage of English boats, 
the river being narrow here, and the boats exposed to mus- 
ket fire, since the channel runs close in. 

But as it seemed to me that such a determination should 
not be put into execution without examining the country 
in question, I sent the Engineer Don Pedro Ruiz de Olano, 
escorted by the Captain of cavalry Don Pedro Lamberto, 
25 men of his company and 10 trusthworthy Indians, to 
make a most formal reconnaissance. The party left the 9th 
inst, and returned the 12th ; the Engineer tells me he made a 
careful survey of Mojoloa, and found it as reported to me, 
except the broad shoal running over to the other side of 
the river carries more water than was said ; for a fall of a 
half yard* having been noted at the bank, still the entire 
shoal was covered. Having determined this, they went on 
to inspect the narrows of San Nicolas, and remarking that 
here the ground runs hard from one bank to the other at 
musket range and a little more, they decided that no other 
place would be so suitable for a fort as this, especially with 
the addition of a chain or estacade to close the passage. 
According to the turn of events, it might be decided to build 
a fort on the other bank, thus providing for a cross fire, 
and here establish communication with Apalachee. 

With respect to all this, I have to say to Your Excellency 
that as it is absolutely impossible to execute my ideas with- 
out sea forces, I am sending in this launch of Ojeda's, Cap- 
tain Don Manuel Montero de Villasante to Habana, to de- 
scribe vividly to Your Excellency if no sea forces are sup- 
plied, all the difficulties of this plan, of our purpose of re- 
capturing Pupo, of making the river safe, and relieving us 
of any attempt the English may make from Picolata. whence 
the distance to this point is least. For although most vig- 
orous warm affairs are taking place every day, it is useless 
to expect any advantageous result so long as they control 
the river with their boats. And apart from the fact that any 

* Media Vara: exactly which Vara is meant here, there is of course no means of 
knowing. The Cuban Vara is 33^.386. Tr. 

46 Letters of Montiano 

other plan would be useless, and that this one itself would 
naturally be inefficient,* however well thought of, prudence 
and forethought call for the conservation of such stores as 
we have, for without them this garrison can not subsist. 
And when Your Excellency understands that it is now over 
a week since those that came from Habana, are with the ex- 
ception of a small quantity of corn, exhausted, Your Ex- 
cellency will easily realize that nothing else so much deserves 
our attention as the economy and good management of our 
stores, in order to avoid exposure to irreparable harm. 
In view of what I have suggested, I humbly beseech Your 
Excellency to condescend to be willing to send me the help 
I asked for in my letter of February 23, for this is the only 
way to bring about an honorable solution, and the other 
favorable results mentioned. And I especially again request 
that the small boats Your Excellency may send should be 
well manned by skilled sailors and commanded by a man of 
intelligence and valor, and well supplied with stores ; and 
that all that can be sent to this garrison should come as 
quickly as possible, in order that the English may not again 
repeat the occupation of our coast with their squadrons, 
leaving us unprovided, without power of revictualing or of 

I beg leave most sincerely to assure Your Excellency that 
I am actuated and inspired by no other motive than the most 
punctilious resolution to maintain the luster of our arms, 
the glory of God first, and the protection of these provinces, 
with the welfare of the garrison next. In this point of view, 
and without any concern on my part for any worldly in- 
terest, Your Excellency may entrust the operations to any 
person whatsoever in whom Your Excellency may have con- 
fidence, and satisfaction, to conduct them independently of 
me, according to the conditions of the expedition projected 
against Georgia after the equinox of March, 1737. My 
co-operation will be limited solely to offering accurate ad- 
vice on the state of the country, and to giving him all the 
benefit possible resulting from experience. I desire nothing 
but the best service of the King: under this assumption, Your 
Excellency may make any disposition suggested by your 
great prudence and lofty talents. I offer with all my heart 
the most cheerful compliance with any method and regula- 

* Presumably, without the naval resources for which Don Manuel is pleading 


Siege of SI. Augustine 47 

tions imposed by Your Excelelncy on the person selected 
for these operations, without resistance of alteration on 
my part, agreeing to observe them inviolable in the spirit 
and harmony demanded by the King for the effective execu- 
tion of the former expedition just mentioned. And I say 
the same of anything else Your Excellency may deem best 
suited to the successful issue of the present (trouble). For 
my soul holds no thought foreign to the service of God and 
the honor of the King, in the firm belief that Your Excellen- 
cy's great discretion and approved character will adopt the 
most harmonious proper measures. 

From the cautious procedure of the English it follows 
that until this year we have had no news from our capital : 
it follows also that without intending it, they have got the 
better of us, even when we believed that they were keeping 
the good faith set forth in the preliminaries of the conven- 
tion of January 14 and 15 of the last year. It being the de- 
sign of the King, as Your Excellency may see from the copy 
herewith, that we should fix our attention on the operations 
of the English of Carolina merely to check their plans and 
progress in the territory of our provinces, using force if 
necessary, and having applied to Your Excellency, as to the 
Viceroy of New Spain, for all that was needful for this pur- 
pose, I find myself under the necessity of recurring to Your 
Excellency, the only person that can give me the assistance 
I must have, with the promptness required by the present 
urgency. For without this assistance, it is clear I shall be 
able neither to offer any resistance, nor to take any satis- 
faction, since I lack sea forces, and therefore, stores, boats, 
and seamen for their organization. 

Florida, March 24, 1740. 

No. 192. 

I am convinced that my continued requests must be 
very annoying to Your Excellency ; but I am also convinced 
that Your Excellency's prudence, lofty talents, and zeal in 
the royal service, will cause Your Excellency to forgive mv 
frequent applications, on considering the necessities, the 
unhappy situation, and the misfortunes of this wretched 
garrison. If Your Excellency does not soon rescue it 
from its afflictions, I contemplate it as lost in the future. 
Under this view then, and with regard to the recent progress 
of the enemy, it seems proper to me that we should check it. 

4$ Letters of Montiano 

And to that end, I beg Your Excellency to make the greatest 
effort to send small boats for service in the river of St. 
John's, thus compelling them to abandon it. This result 
can be accomplished by our seizing the pass of San Nicholas, 
one bank or the other, (as may suit), fortifying them as a 
shelter for the boats, and by closing the river with an esta- 
cade or chain of heavy timbers. All this done, I feel sure 
they would have either to abandon Pupo, or allow them- 
selves to be blockaded without the necessity of a siege. If 
left alone, however, they will become inexpugnable, especial- 
ly if the Uchises declare for them, which they will, on seeing 
our indifference and inaction. 

For this undertaking, we have here the men of the eight 
companies, and those of the fort, 462 in all excluding the 
detachment of Apalachee, 80 men ; in addition, we have 60 
militiamen, 40 free negroes, and 50 Indians, as appears from 
the return herewith. These men are sufficient, I take it, 
only to make the river sure. But with Your Excellency's 
consent, we could receive here (in order that regulars might 
not be wanting where of most importance) 100 militiamen, 
100 mulattoes and 100 negroes, the entire disposition of this 
dependency remaining in Your Excellency's hands with re- 
spect to the stores that Your Excellency might send for the 
subsistence of all, seeing that we depend entirely for these 
upon your city, and that without them we can do nothing. 

Our unfortunate failure to take a single prisoner de- 
prives me of the power of saying to Your Excellency ex- 
actly in what strength they are, else we might more intel- 
ligently develop this idea accordingly ; but I believe that 
whenever they see our armament, they are compelled to re- 
gard it as very strong, and that they must not expose them- 
selves at one time to the chances of risking all of their 

Should Your Excellency think it safe to send the funds for 
the re-enforcements, and resolve to send them, I beseech 
Your Excellency on the same occasion to send some for 
continuing the work on the castle, for the amount in hand 
for this purpose is well-nigh exhausted. And if Your Ex- 
cellency could find any muskets for Indians, or if it were 
possible to get them from Pensacola, I should be grateful 
to Your Excellency for the favor of sending me as many as 
you could, for I have none to give them, nor the courage to 
cause you any more annoyance. 

Florida, 25 March, 1740. 

Siege of St. Augustine ■ 49 

Return of men who are actually available in the Plaza of 
Florida : 

Of the eight companies. .308 Of the militiamen 61 

Of the three of the Place. .080 Armed Indians 50 

Of the artillerymen 032 Free Negroes 40 

Of the cavalry 042 



Total 613 

No. 193. 

I communicate to Your Excellency the happy arrival on 
the 14th instant of the six galliots under the charge of Don 
Juan Fandino, and Don Francisco del Castillo, for sending 
which I offer you my repeated thanks. At the same time, 
I have to say to Your Excellency, that the next day we 
mounted broadside guns on four of them, made a foremast 
for one that had sprung hers, fitted them with many small 
parts, and repaired all the arms. 

On the 1 8th two English frigates came in sight from the 
north. On the 19th at dawn, they were both off the bar, at 
the same point of the compass, remaining in that neighbor- 
hood all day, and sending a boat for water to the vicinity of 
the point and coast of San Mateo. As the boat was resting 
on its oars, the flagship fired a gun, and on seeing our two 
launches making for it, fired another shot and withdrew. 

On the 20th, only one frigate could be seen ; at dawn it 
was at anchor on the bar. Being encouraged by the with- 
drawal of one of the frigates, Don Juan Fandino, Don Fran- 
cisco del Castillo, and the Pilot Don Domingo de la Cruz 
formed the plan of surprising the one remaining in sight ; and 
having discussed among themselves the ease with which we 
could bring about its surrender, they laid the matter before 
me with so much assurance, that I authorized the under- 
taking, with the stipulation that I was not to be responsible 
for failure. On the night of the same day, 50 soldiers and 
3 officers being ready to set out in the six galliots and the 
two launches well armed, it happened that after nightfall the 
lighthouse keeper of Santa Anastacia came in with the news 
of having discovered, as evening fell a sloop to the north, 
which induced the Captains of the galliots to put off their de- 
parture until dawn. Crossing the bar, then, at dawn, and 
seeino- that the frigate was alone and becalmed, they ap- 

5° Letters of Montiano 

proached it with intrepidity with the firm intention of board- 
ing it in the belief that it mounted only 18 or 20 guns. But 
discovering that it had according to some, 32, according to 
others, 36 guns, they fired on it about two hours ; and hav- 
ing failed during this time to take the poop, and not having 
brought on a surrender, and the wind coming on to blow 
out of the east, our galliots by sail and oar promptly executed 
the important maneuver of getting the weather gauge, and 
so made a lucky retreat by way of Mantanzas, and thence 
along the coast the two launches, with no damage other than 
a shot of no consequence in one of our galliots, in spite of 
the extreme efforts of the frigate to hug the coast so as to 
embarrass the entrance, firing vigorously but without result 
to secure this end. 

I have no doubt that if the boats had gone out the same 
night, and no warning had been given, as was the case from 
dawn until half past eight, when the affair began, the frigate 
would have been either surrendered or sunk ; but the En- 
glishman manuevered so skilfully, that he did not allow them 
to approach, for by towing out his ship, he kept on getting 
farther away and getting time for his preparations ; while 
our people were exhausting themselves by pulling, and when 
they began to fire, he boldly presented his broadside, without 
giving them a chance at his poop, and so in spite of their 
various manuevers, they never got it. And in this condi- 
tion they fired at each other for more than two hours, grape- 
shot crossing from both sides. He dismantled his entire 
cabin to mount a few stern-chasers, which he could not have 
had, because here he used cabin doors, windows, tables, and 
other pieces, and a gun port carried away by a cannon shot. 
They say he had a large crew and regular troops in red 

In this attempt Don Juan Fandino displayed good leader- 
ship and valor having given in advance the orders for each 
man's duties in an honorable retreat ; Don Francisco de Cas- 
tillo gave proof of no less valor, being the only one who suc- 
ceeded in attacking the poop, and firing a few shots into it; 
he received 14 shots himself, all of which missed him. All 
the other officers of the parties and of the garrison distin- 
guished themselves equally, each one wishing to be the 
first to board, and the soldiers and sailors no less vaioriously 
cried out in competition "Let us board !" The artillerymen of 
the garrison assure me they did their duty well, and made 
good practice. A frigate has remained constantly in view, 

Siege of St. Augustine 5/ 

and seems to be the one of the affair just described ; on the 
24th another one was seen from Matanzas, returning proba- 
bly from a cruise as far as Cape Canaveral. We do not 
know that it has spoken its companion : the one now present 
seems to be one seen from Matanzas. It was joined on the 
26th by a despatch boat which probably came to report what 
had happened to the other, and to notify it to keep away 
from the coast, so as not to be becalmed. According to all 
appearances, they are going to keep off this port many days. 
Florida, April 27, 1740. 

No. 198. 

On the night of the 9th inst., the sloops of Marcos de 
Torres, and ours under the charge of Don Domingo de la 
Cruz left this port : the first on its way to that city (Habana), 
the second having the colony of Guarico as its destination, 
and carrying 6 thousand dollars in coin to be laid out in flour 
and other stores for the support and maintenance of this 
garrison. Last night at one o'clock a soldier arrived here 
from the watch on the bar of Matanzas, with sad news to 
the effect that Pedro de Echeverria, the master of the said 
Marco de Torres's sloop had come to that point (Matanzas), 
to say that our sloop, at dawn of the 10th was about 2 or 3 
leagues beyond the bar of Mosquitoes, and close to a frigate 
carrying, it seemed to him, 40 guns. The frigate, being in 
shore opened fire; our sloop defended itself with valor, re- 
turning the fire : when the frigate gave chase, and drove 
our sloop aground a little on this side of the said bar. 

On the 10th I sent Your Excellency by way of Matanzas 
bar, the schooner of Bartilome de Espinosa, with the sub- 
lieutenant Don Joseph de Rivas aboard carrying despatches, 
duplicates of which are inclosed, setting forth the desperate 
state in which we find ourselves through lack of supplies. 
This new unhappy occurrence compels me to lay before 
you the fact that we are in extreme want, without food, and 
besieged by sea. For as there are on this bar one frigate 
and a despatch boat, seen the nth and 12th, and another 
frigate is stationed in the channel off Cape Canaveral on this 
coast, it follows infallibly that no small boats sent by Your 
Excellency can reach us. Under these circumstances, we 
have decided in a meeting just held to send Your Excellency 
a galliot with this news, so that knowing the unhappy ex- 

52 Letters of Montiano 

tremity to which we have come, Your Excellency may see 
fit eagerly to succor us with the greatest possible amount 
of supplies in vessels strong enough to cope with the three 
on our coast, for in no other way do I see any help, and con- 
sequently an irreparable calamity is hanging over us. 

It is my duty to tell Your Excellency that for the present 
this will be the last despatch on our unhappy state that I 
shall be able to send, because, fearing lest the English intend 
assaulting us by sea, 1 can assure Your Excellency that I 
have no force for the defense of this bar, and that of Ma- 
tanzas, other than the galliots. And noting that against 
the attack of any small boat whatever they may have in the 
Keys, our remaining launch is insufficient, we have used one 
of the six galliots to cross over to that port (Habana) and 
carry our melancholy news. 

Through authentic reports of affairs in Apalachee, Your 
Excellency will understand that in order to keep the In- 
dians faithful to us, or at least prevent them from joining 
either side, nothing is of such great value as the maintenance 
of the storehouse, furnishing all necessaries in abundance. 
With regard to both of these points, I beseech Your Ex- 
cellency out of your great zeal in the service of the King, 
to make the most ample provision, to the important end of 
terminating both emergencies, at the very earliest date, see- 
ing that in its present state, the preservation of this place 
depends solely on the succor of Your Excellency, because 
without supplies it is not possible that we shall preserve 
our lives. 

It is unnecessary to exaggerate to Your Excellency the 
agony of our situation, for in respect of the amount of sup- 
plies in hand, and of the fact that the population of this city 
exceeds 2,400, Your Excellency will easily perceive that we 
most urgently need help at the first possible moment. 

Saint Augustine, in Florida, May 13, 1740. 


I omitted to say to Your Excellency, that from a post sent 
to Apalachee on the 13th of April to find out the state of 
the Uchises, and back here after great effect on the 10th in- 
stant, by reason of the numerous Indian allies of the English 
distributed over the whole country, I have learned that an 
English sloop at Cayo de Huesos* gave chase to Pablo Rod- 

* Key West. 

Siege of St. Augustine 53 

riguez on his way with supplies to that fort (Apalachee) ; that 
the sloop going aground, and so being unable to pursue the 
other, sent against Pedro Rodriguez an armed launch with 
12 men on board, among them several Indians, against which 
he defended himself with his two stone-mortars, and es- 
copette, and succeeded in getting clear, although wounded 
in the breast with a musketball. I am anxious to point out 
to Your Excellency, that they are holding even that coast, 
perhaps to cut off assistance sent to Apalachee. 

No 200. 


At this hour, being seven of the morning, at which the 
galliot was just about to sail, there arrived two men of Tor- 
res' sloop with the news that the English who took our 
sloop, have put a crew on board, and have posted her to the 
leeward of the bar of Penon so close to the shore, that in 
the quiet and silence of the night, conversation aboard can 
be heard. And so I have suspended the departure of the 
galliot, and have arranged to send a Spaniard and three In- 
dians in a small canoe to the Keys, by the inside coast chan- 
nel, where it will be easy for the Indians to take the little 
canoe across the shoals ;* on arriving at Biscayne Key or at 
Matacumbe, they are to try to find a fishing boat, to trans- 
port them to that Port (Habana) or failing that, to ask the 
Cacique Don Diego to undertake this important matter, to 
which end I wrote him a letter of direction of the greatest 
affection, because they set great store by these friendly dis- 
plays. I feel it my duty to say to Your Excellency that un- 
less those two frigates, the despatch boat and the sloop with- 
draw from this coast, we shall be unable to send any reports, 
so long as strong vessels do not come from that port (Ha- 
bana), because the way through the Keys is uncertain and 
dangerous, besides which there are but few Indians in those 
parts with whom these matters can be carried on. While 
on this subject, I give Your Excellency clearly to under- 
stand that this place now contains no other resources for 
its subsistence than the provisions for at least six months, 
that Your Excellency can send in strong vessels. I have 

* Varaderos. None of the usual meanings of this word applies here. It may 
mean "poi tage." Tr. 

54 Letters of Montiano 

no expedient left that is of any value and unless help can 
come by June 20 at the latest, it is the most natural thing- in 
the world that this garrison perish. 

Saint Augustine, in Florida, May 15, 1740. 

In this letter were sent duplicates of the despatches taken 
by Don Joseph de Rivas. 

No. 201. 

On the 25th ultimate, I sent Your Excellency by a soldier 
of this garrison and three Indians of the coast, the news con- 
tained in the duplicate herewith. One of these Indians re- 
turned on the 4th, with three gunshot wounds, and the news 
that the Indians of Mayaca slew the soldier and two of his 
companions at Gega. Since then, I learn in addition from 
a foreman of Espinosa's, that while his master and some 
other workmen were busy at San Diego on field works, 50 
Indian allies of the English suddenly surrounded them, firing 
a volley into them, and so killing one trooper and a negro 
of Espinosa's. Nevertheless the others managed to get into 
the fort, except a negro of the monastery of Saint Francis, 
who took to the woods. Him they consider dead. The 
Indians having failed to capture anyone withdrew. These 
things being so, I took the resolution of sending a sergeant 
and 12 men with a surgeon, to bring back the wounded, and 
if necessary, to leave some people as reenforcement, and then 
return. The sergeant not having returned in two days, I 
sent a corporal of cavalry with six men, to discover anything 
that might have occurred since in those parts. He returned 
the next day, saying that he was unable to reach the fort, 
the enemy by spreading out far and wide having given him 
no chance. Having then sent out other scouts, not one 
brought me any formal news as to whether the fort was tak- 
en, or was still holding out. The captains were then called 
together in a council, and it was resolved to send a detach- 
ment of 300 men from the eight companies, from three of 
the place, militiamen, Indians and negroes, under Captain 
Don Miguel de Ribas, Don Fulgencio de Alfaro. and Don 
Pedro Lamberto, with four galliots, one launch, and 4 pi- 
rogues, to transport the troops and carry two guns in case 
it was necessary to batter the fort, demolish a side of it, 
and recover or succor it. But the captains having learned 










•■--• ^J^^HI 


.... . 










Siege of St. Augustine jj 

that the enemy, drawn up waiting for us, was much superior 
in numbers to our detachment, withdrew to this place. I 
have since learned by another scout, that they were strength- 
ening the fort. And others who frequently reiterate, say that 
their small parties are at a league from here; which makes 
me think they are present in force, and that they are es- 
tablishing storehouses at San Diego for food and stores, in 
preparation for the siege of this place. I am persuaded of 
this too from their having shown to-day five vessels in ad- 
dition to the two that have now been watching this bar and 
that of Matanzas for a long time. With this news, proof, as 
it were of a siege, I am compelled to report these occurren- 
ces to Your Excellency by the launch that I am keeping on 
the bar of Mosquitoes waiting for the succor, which by the 
same launch Your Excellency told me you were going to 
send. For informed of them, and of the desperate strait in 
which this garrison finds itself, Your Excellency may be 
good enough to succor it at the earliest moment by sending 
strong vessels to overcome those of the enemy. I doubt 
very much if help can be got in in any other way, or if we 
can exist much longer without supplies, shut in by the ene- 
my on sea and land. Although the vessels so far seen are 
seven, I firmly believe that the Vizarra, the San Juan and 
the Pingue can resist their force, since some of their vessels 
appear to us to be merchant. 

Saint Augustine, in Florida, June II, 1740. 

Postscript to the letter proper. 

I am so occupied with business, that I cannot answer ¥our 
Excellency's letters received in the launch, nor others, ans- 
wers to which have been begun. As they are not occupying 
the bar of Matanzas, there yet remains a means of succor, 
and we shall there make all possible resistance with three 
galliots and land troops. 

No. 202.* 

Considering that in case this arrives in time to be of any 
benefit, Your Excellency may, after reflection upon its con- 
tents, take the most suitable measures, I give notice that the 

* Translation from Southern Quarterly Review, April, 1844, p. 406, and used here 
after many corrections and alterations. Tr. 

5<5 Letters of Montiano 

enemy remains stationed on this bar, and on that of Ma- 
tanzas, and is in possesion of the Island of Santa Anastacia, 
and its watch-tower, of all the beach of San Mateo, and 
maintains a camp at the village of Moze. The ships block- 
ading us are seven frigates of 23 to 30 guns, two packets of 
10 or 12 guns, three sloops, six schooners, and twelve scows 
exclusive of boat, and launches belonging to the vessels. 

At this moment, which is nine o'clock in the forenoon, they 
have opened with a mortar firing large shell (granadas reales) 
a few splinters of which have fallen into the fort, but most 
of them have passed over the lines, and beyond them. 

I assure Your Excellency that it is impossible to express 
the confusion of this place, for we have here no protection 
except the fort, and all the rest is open field. The families 
have abandoned their houses, and come to put themselves 
under protection of the guns, which is pitiable, though noth- 
ing gives me anxiety but the want of provisions, and if Your 
Excellency for want of competent force, cannot send relief, 
we must all indubitably perish. With this information, I 
am assured Your Excellency will excuse the hyperboles in 
which the conflict we are in, may be portrayed, and I hope 
every attention will be given to measures conducing to re- 
lieve this eminent peril, as a matter of such moment, and of 
the first service to the King. 

St. Augustine, in Florida, 24th June, 1740. 

No. 203. 


On the 24th ultimate, I sent Your Excellency by way of 
Apalachee an accurate account of the siege by sea and land 
of this place by the English, a duplicate of which I enclose. 

*I have now to inform Your Excellency, that at eleven 
o'clock on the night of Saturday the 25th of June, I sent out 
from this garrison, 300 men to make an attack on the fort 
of Moze, which was executed at day-break on Sunday morn- 
ing. Our people swept over it, with such impetuosity that 
it fell, with a loss of 68 dead, and 34 prisoners. 

I have ascertained that the garrison of this place, consisted 
of 140 men according to some of the prisoners, and of 170 
according to others. It was composed of one militia com- 

* This extract is to be found in Southern Quarterly Review for April, 1844, p. 406; 
it is used here with many corrections and alterations. 

Siege of St. Augustine 57 

pany of Scotchmen, 70 men, including officers, of 15 infantry, 
40 horsemen, and 35 Indians, Yaches and Uchices, with a 
white man for chief. This detachment or garrison was 
commanded by Colonel (Palma) who with one of his sons 
was evidently left dead in the action. An Indian prisoner 
affirms positively that he saw Colonel Palma dead, and his 
head cut off. He further infers that both of his sons were 
dead, though he did not see them dead; because he saw their 
hats in the hands of our people ; of whom ten have died, 
among them the Ensign, Don Joseph de Aguilera.* The 
affair being terminated, I ordered the fort to be demolished, 
and the dead buried. From such investigation as I have 
been able to make among the prisoners, I have acquired the 
following news. Three or four prisoners agree in saying, 
that both by rumor and by gazette, they have learned of the 
preparation in England of a considerable expedition against 
Havana, consisting of 30 ships of the line, and of a landing 
party of 10,000 men — and I am sending this despatch to give 
you this information as possibly of great importance to the 
service of the King. , 

Of the armament besieging us, the prisoners say it is 
composed of 7 frigates, one of 50 guns from Bermuda, anoth- 
er of 40, another of 27, and the rest of 20 ; the number of 
despatch boats, bilanders, or of other small boats they do 
not know. They vary in their estimate of the main body 
of troops, some putting it at 2,000 others at 1,500, or 1,200, 
and still others at 900. In respect of batteries, they have 
brought among others, three bronze 18-pounders from Car- 
olina. Up to to-day they have made no assault, but it would 
seem that by reason of the blow at Moze, they have all as- 
sembled on the Island of Santa Anastacia, where they have 
collected eleven small mortars, two of them for shells of half 
a quintal, and the other 9 for smaller ones. With these, and 
one other larger one formerly on the coast of San Matheo, 
12 in all, they fired on us the 30 of June, from 6 in the even- 
ing, until 10 at night. 

My greatest concern is for supplies, and if we get none, 
there is no doubt we shall die of hunger. 

*From the beginning of the fire up to this day they have 
thrown 122 large shell and 31 small, from which, glory be 
to God, we have received no corporal injury. On the Is- 

* This paragraph and the next may be found in Southern Quarterly Review of 
April, 1844, p. 409. 

jS Letters of Montiano 

land of Santa Anastacia, they have emplaced a battery of 5 
guns, three of 18 and two of 6-pounders, the first to batter 
the 'fort and town, and the others for the galliots, and with 
them they make incessant fire; but ours answers them, and 
we are informed that they receive more damage than our- 

On the first day of the month, after beating a call, they 
sent us a white flag, with three letters, making a demand 
the nature of which Your Excellency will perceive by their 
tenor. Our answer Your Excellency will learn from the 
enclosures ; and from that day they have fired with increased 
vigor, but in vain, for it appears that God has given greater 
accuracy to our fire. 

My outposts have found four more men killed in the af- 
fair of Moze, two of them white, the others Indian. 

From a deserter that arrived here on the 14th ultimate, 
we learn that General Oglethorpe brought 900 men, 300 of 
his regiment of regulars, and 600 Carolina militia ; that it 
was unknown if others would come to him from Virginia or 
other parts ; that the Carolina militia came supplied for four 
months. But the prisoners of Moze say that even if neces- 
sary to remain one year before this place, General Ogle- 
thorpe will do it, until he subdues it. 

Saint Augustine, in Florida, July 6, 1740. 

No. 204. 

From a deserter crossing over from the island of Santa 
Anastacia I have just learned that the frigates of the squad- 
ron are six in number, the flagship of 40 guns, and two hun- 
dred men ; and the remainder of 20 with one hundred and 
■fiftv men. The deserter declared he had not been on board 
of any of them, but that he had got his account from some 
sailors with whom he had talked. I send this to Your Ex- 
cellency to weigh any significance it may have ; so that, with 
reference to it, and to the statement of the prisoner that 
there was a frigate of 50 guns from Bermuda, and another 
of 40 or origin unknown to him, Your Excellency may draw 
the conclusion that seems best to you, premising that when 
the said prisoner made this remark, he said he had not seen 
the 50-gun frigate but that a frigate having anchored before 
the bar of St. John's, the General told them she was from 
Bermuda and carried 50 guns. 

Saint Augustine, in Florida, July 13, 1740. 

Siege of St. Augustine 59 

No. 205.* 


On the 6th of the present month I informed Your Excel- 
lency, by the Adjutant Don Juan Jacinto Rodriguez, of what 
had then occurred. On the night of the day subsequent, (the 
7th of July,) Louis Gomez arrived at this place, with intel- 
ligence that he left within the bar of Mosquitoes, three 
sloop, one small sloop, and two schooners, with provisions 
sent by Your Excellency, in charge of Juan de Oxeda, and 
addressed to the Captain Don Manuel de Villasante. The 
pleasure with which I received this news, is indescribable ; 
but the joy subsisted but a short time in my heart; for I 
was also informed, that when Pedro Chepuz, and the French 
sloop in which he came as pilot, arrived off this bar, he was 
seen and chased by an English ship, and packet, which did 
no harm, but got notice of our provisions, and of their 
whereabouts. At the same time came a deserter from the en- 
emy's camp, who said that on some night, during spring tides, 
it was the intention of General Oglethorpe, to make an at- 
tack on this place by sea and land. On this I suspended the 
execution of the plan I had fixed on for bringing the pro- 
visions, little by little, and applied myself entirely to the pur- 
pose of resisting whatever attempts his pride and arrogance 
might undertake ; but the days of opportunity, passed, with- 
out his executing his idea, and I turned my eyes upon our 
relief vessels, which were manifestly in danger. Using only 
the launches and the boat, we carried on the work of un- 
loading and transporting to this place ; for although I also 
sent with them a pirogue of considerable capacity for the 
same purpose, it so happened that on making that bar, four 
boats and launches, one frigate and a despatch boat crossed 
their path, separating them and attacking the small ones. 
But our people defended themselves stoutly, from four of 
the afternoon until nightfall, suffering only the loss of our 
pirogue, which splintered itself against the launches ; the 
crew having shifted over, they continued their journey, and 
returned happily loaded with flour, and continued their task 
until it was no longer necessary, for on the 20th, the enemy 
having raised his camp, and taken to hasty and shameful 
flight, I promptly ordered our bilanders after making the 
most careful inspection to see if the pass was open and the 

* Portions of this letter are published in the Southern Quarterly Review of April, 
1844, pp. 409, 410. 

6o Letters of Montiano 

coast clear, to resume their voyage and come in by Matanzas, 
if they had at the least a moral certainty of safety. This 
they accordingly did on the 25th ; and to-day the sloop from 
Campeche and the two schooners have completely discharg- 
ed their cargo. And I have consequently directed Paloma- 
rez, Captain of one of them, to prepare to take this news to 
Your Excellency. 

I assure Your Excellency, that I cannot arrive at a com- 
prehension of the conduct, or rules of this General ; for I 
am informed by at least twelve deserters from him present 
here, that his camp was composed of 370 men of his regi- 
ment, 600 militia of Carolina, 130 Indians, and 200 sailors 
armed, and encamped on the Island of Santa Anastacia, and 
as many more sailors for the management of the sloops, 
schooners, and launches. My wonder is inexpressible that 
this gentleman should make his retreat with such precipi- 
tation, as to leave abandoned, four 6-pounders on the bat- 
tery on the point of San Mateo, one schooner, two kegs 
of gunpowder, several muskets and escopettes, and to set 
fire to a quantity of provisions, such as boxes of bacon, 
cheese, lard, dried beef, rice and beans, to a schooner, and 
to an excellent mortar carriage ; besides many things that 
have profited the Indians, and galley slaves who have had 
the fortune to pick up several barrels of lard and flour, and 
some pork.* Notwithstanding all this, I can assure Your 
Excellency that all the deserters, and two squaws of ours, 
prisoners of theirs that escaped, agree in saying that Don 
Diego Oglethorpe is going to reorganize his forces, and 
make a great effort to stir up the Indians. And although 
I appraise this rumor as something to placate and leave 
in doubt his people, moderating the fire that may be burning 
among them, and especially the Carolinians and Scotchmen 
as having been the hardest hit, yet I believe there would be 
no harm in taking precautions, and in Your Excellency 
sending me such reenforcements as may be suitable, and 
the munitions and stores as set forth in memorandum here- 
with. I shall send a post at once to the Uchises, to draw 
them, in view of all this news, from their allegiance to the En- 
glish, and I shall offer to treat them handsomely if it will 
please them to come see me. 

♦This paragraph corrected, et:., may be found in Southern Quarterly Review 
ioc. cit. 

Siege of St. Augustine 6/ 

The formal seige has continued 38 days, counting from 
the 13th of June, to the 20th of July, and the fire of the bat- 
teries and bombardment 27 days, from the 24th of June, to 
the said 20th of July. The batteries were, three ; one in the 
pool on the Island of Santa Anastacia, of four 18-pounders 
and one 9-pounder ; another on the point of the hammock on 
said island, of two 18-pounders, and the other on the coast 
of the interior part of the point San Mateo, of seven 6- 
pounders, five of iron, and two of brass. The mortars, and 
small mortars were thirty-four, two mortars throwing shell 
of half a quintal, and two others of about a quintal. The 
thirty small mortars, which the deserters call cow horns,* 
were, some small hand grenades, and others for those of ten 
or twelve pounds. 

The loss we have suffered is reduced to two men killed, 
and wounded. Those (wounded) by gun fire who died were 
. . artilleryman and the convict, son of Ordonez, whom 
with the other one named Contreras I received in the first 
launch-loads from Mosquito. Of the other two wounded 
by shellfire, to wit, a soldier and a negro, the negro is per- 
fectly well, and the other has a good chance of pulling 
through, though with one leg fewer. 

The constancy, valor and glory of the officers here are 
beyond all praise; the patriotism, courage and steadiness of 
the troops, militia, free negroes, and convicts, have been 
great. These last I may say to Your Excellency, have 
borne themselves like veteran soldiers. I especially com- 
mend their humble devotion, for without ceasing work by 
day, they have persevered by night with the care and vigi- 
lence of old soldiers. 

Even among the slaves a particular steadiness has been 
noticed, and a desire not to await the enemy within the place 
but to go out to meet him. In short, I have been thoroughly 
satisfied with all during the siege, and especially with the 
circumstance that during the entire siege no one has de- 
serted. And lastly. Your Excellency may believe that the 
galliots have been of great service to me : for if the siege 
had caught me without them, the English would have given 
me much work to do, as the launches could have been used 
for nothing but the guard of this port, to say nothing of the 
necessity of taking other indispensable measures, at great 

*The name of the mortar is Coehorn, from the inventor. As pronounced it 
sounded to Don Manuel like cow horn, and he accordingly so translates into his own 
speech, cuernos de vaca. Tr. 

62 Letters of Montiano 

cost. And so I renew my thanks to Your Excellency for 
having sent them to my relief, even against the common 
opinion of the entire torrent of members of the Junta held 
by you to decide whether or no they should be sent. 

On the return of the boats under the charge of Don Juan 
de Ojeda I shall write at length to Your Excellency : to-day 
I can do no more than send this great news by the ship- 
master Palomares. 

Saint Augustine, in Florida, July 28, 1740. 


All the 12 English deserters say in confirmation of one 
another that General Oglethorpe has gone for reenforce- 
ments, with the intention of returning upon this place next 
spring. Although I do not believe that the settlers of Car- 
olina will give more help on account of the vexation and 
annoyances of this campaign, yet his authority and restless 
spirit may move them, as well as the numbers he is said to 
expect from Europe, according to some, two thousand, to 
others, two regiments. Relative to this, Your Excellency 
may consider the best measures to put this place in a new 
state of defense, lacking as I do more than the remaining 
300 men, on account of the losses encountered at Pupo, 
San Diego, the sloop, the sortie of Moze, and of Indian 
prisoners and killed. 

The enemy spread the news that on their retreat they 
would burn the fort of San Diego, and that of Pupo. But 
the latest deserter says that General Oglethorpe is going 
to construct a battery of 6 guns at the entrance of the Saint 
John's on the other side, to prevent the entrance of galliots, 
and in order to maintain Pupo. All the others declare that 
it was his intention to withdraw with his entire regiment 
(now of 378 men out of 600 it originally contained) to the 
fort of Federico, and fortify himself there, abandoning the 
remaining forts he has in other islands. Other deserters 
have said that their general was going over to London for 
fresh reenforcements. Should the war continue, we must 
take measures to oppose his plans. 

The fort at San Diego was abandoned without being burn- 
ed, reported. Luckily for us, no shelll fell within the fort, 
but their guns injured our parapets. 

This was the moment to exterminate General Oglethorpe 
with his regiment and force him out of Georgia, with forces 

Siege of St. Augustine 63 

but little stronger than those I have here, for his troops are 
discontented, and he would get but little help from Carolina 
by reason of the same discontent, and fear of their negroes. 

So far the French sloop has been unable to enter, nor 
have I seen anyone other than Monsieur Paran. I have 
appointed to-morrow for an interview with them. 

In the latest orders but one from the capital, I received 
one forbidding the supply of stores from any foreign colony, 
on account of a mistake here over the admission of Benavides 
of a schooner in a time of scarcity. But in the latest ones, 
received by me with Don Juan del Canto, to whom Your 
Excellency entrusted them, the King directs me to supply 
myself in the French colonies, which authority permits with- 
out any misgiving the contract made by you, to which I fully 
accede, although the price of flour is high, and we shall try 
to cut it down as much as possible. 

I have been most anxious, but it is certain that the troops 
(I can not set forth to Your Excellency their valor, steadi- 
ness and suffering under our continuous labor) relieved me 
in great part. In the midst of such great dangers, gossip 
ran riot. 

Don Antonio Salgado, who commanded the sortie on 
Moze, acted like a true officer, profiting by their discharge 
to take them disarmed, as it were ; on which he entered the 
work in safety, and overthrew them, although the fort is 
capable of much resistance. 

This affair destroyed the settlement of Scotchmen and 
people in whom Oglethorpe had complete confidence. Al- 
though the matter is common property here, I inform Your 
Excellency confidentially that Fandino is not fit to command 
the galliots, and on the contrary all the other captains are, 
because he has been remiss in obeying my orders, and could 
with but little risk have dismounted their principal battery, 
and the last day have prevented the escape of some of the 
English vessels, and other good things, and it is well that 
Your Excellency should know this. 

The garrison sloop only took six thousand dollars on gar- 
rison account and the eight pickets, and a few * groups of 
people from the underbrush but it is the habit here to aug- 
ment everything. x 

* JEncomiendillas de particular e de poca monte. Precisely what is meant by 
these words is not clear. Encomiendilla is a diminutive of encomienda, on which as 
an institution, see Foreman "The Philippine Islands," 3d edition, p. 211, and also De 
Morga "The Philippine Islands," pp. 323, 325, London, printed for the Hakluyt 
Society, 1868. The reference of the entire passage is obscure. Tr. 

64 Letters of Moniiano 

A few of our prisoners have returned hither from the 
camp and from the boats of the English, and speak ill of Don 
Domingo. I marvel at this greatly, but the signs are bad. 

May God preserve our judgment, and Your Excellency's, 
as is my wish. 

No. 207. 

On July 28, I sent or had ready the report sent to Your 
Excellency in a letter of that date, and reduced to the state- 
ment that on the 20th of the same, the enemy raised the 
siege ; and that on account of the presence or station of a 
frigate and despatch boat to the south on this coast, the 
entrance of the sloops and schooners with supplies could 
not be made before July 27. I now have to tell Your 
Excellency that Palomares failed or was unable to sail, 
through his carelessness and neglect before Sunday the 31. 

To-day, August 3, I have received Your Excellency's prin- 
cipal letter entrusted to Don Juan Ruiz del Canto who, as 
may be inferred from the foregoing letter included herewith, 
tells me that he had remained in his cabin : and with regard 
to Your Excellency's advices, in it, to the effect that Your 
Excellency is preparing the frigate Sta. Catarina under the 
command of Don Joseph de Herrera, two other frigates 
equipped for war, two transports and a sloop with stores. 
I have sent out the boat to-day, to take station with 1 1 men 
on the bar of Mosquitoes, in order to give the necessary 
notice of the state of this place to the said Captain Don Jos- 
eph de Herrera, and so that at the proper time Bartolome 
de Espinosa may set forth to bear to Your Excellency a du- 
plicate of the report of the withdrawal of the Generals Ogle- 
thorpe and Pierse. I have so far not yet received positive 
news that the enemy has withdrawn from San Juan, although 
the latest deserters have assured me that they were to em- 
bark on the coming Friday, 5th instant. To the end of 
verifying this news, and that of their having sent a few 
launches to take up the guns at Pupo and demolish it, I 
am keeping out various patrols of cavalry and Indians, the 
principal purpose and most especial charge being to observe 
their movements in order to guard against any treacherous 
design, seeing that I had received a verification of the re- 
port that they were maintaining themselves at San Juan, with 
all the troops, militia and smaller boats. 

Siege of St . Augustine 65 

I have not thought it proper to follow the rearguard, be- 
cause of lack of troops; out of the eight companies alone 
more than one hundred men are lacking. The troops more- 
over are worn out, and I do not wish to expose this place, 
in a matter of doubtful issue, to late ruin, after having res- 
cued it from the greatest danger. But I hope finally with 
the disposition ?nd assistance of Your Excellency to chas- 
tise them, and give them an exterminating blow. 

As this despatch must go promptly, I have no more to 
report to Your Excellency. 

Florida, August 3, 1740. 

No. 210. 

I shall now proceed to answer Your Excellency's letters 
necessarily laid aside on account of my pressing duties. 
Besides the intelligence given by the two and twenty desert- 
ers that have come here, to the effect that General Ogle- 
thorpe has circulated the rumor that he means to return tc) 
the siege of this place within four or five months, or next 
spring, they add that he will cause other galliots to be built, 
like ours, but of greater burden. And although it appears 
impossible to me that the said Ogletorpe should repeat the 
enterprise, on account of the arduous difficulties he will en- 
counter in bringing the settlers of Carolina a second time 
to his way of thinking, nevertheless as the entire system of 
the citizens of those colonies and of their neighbors, consists 
and dwells in the desire to capture this place, the reef on 
which ordinarily they break, and the obstacle to the course 
of their inhuman and haughty plan of exterminating the 
Indians of the continent of Apalachee and its confines so as 
to occupy all these provinces without let or hindrance, it 
seems logical to me not to spurn their warnings, because it 
may of course happen that, thoroughly distrusting the con- 
duct of Oglethorpe, they may in case the war continue, ask 
the King of Great Britian to commit the direction of af- 
fairs to some other soldier whose conciliatory character may 
give them better satisfaction. If this happens, as is possible, 
or if the same Oglethorpe should again have charge, he may 
succeed in bewitching them into the belief that another 
greater expedition is necessary against this place, for ob- 
viously we must assume that the new attempt and attack 
would' be undertaken with double forces at least. And if 
his court should be inclined to grant the two regiments or 

66 Letters of Moniiano 

the two thousand troops, as divulged, because of the advan- 
tage to that Crown of holding this province, then will it be 
most necessary to send equal forces ; for, seeing that this 
place is an open country, its defense should be guarded more 
than any other thing. There can infallibly be no other worse 
nor more deplorable condition, than our reduction to the 
limits of the fort ; if this happens, which God forbid, it is 
equally infallible that we could not exist for any length of 
time. Without taking into consideration any other reason 
or principle, the sad voices and tears of the women and 
children, were enough to distract their fathers from the best 
laid, logical plans. I keep in mind Your Excellency's grave 
preoccupations with the defense of that island (Cuba), beauti- 
ful woman whom all nations are wooing, but I also be- 
lieve that Your Excellency, zealous in the King's service, will 
make a special study of coming to the relief of this place 
with all that it needs. 

In a circular of January 30 of this year, sent to all coun- 
cils of the cities of these Indies, the King especially recom- 
mends the defense of all his American dominions, offering 
at the same time to send troops from the Kingdom for the 
making of a more vigorous resistance. But if it should hap- 
pen that these can not be supplied, either by reason of some 
serious obstacle by sea or land, or for any other good reason, 
then, in obedience to my duty, and to the reiterated com- 
mands of the King to report to Your Excellency, I must set 
before Your Excellency my resources, begging for whatever 
may be necessary to the defense of this place ; because, if 
the war continues, I am under the necessity of asking for 370 
infantrymen, and 24 artillerymen. During the siege and be- 
fore, and counting the men not fit for duty, the troops of this 
garrison and of the reenforcements were reduced by this 
number, there remaining of the former only 116 fit for duty, 
and of the latter ony 240, making 356. As both corps should 
amount to 750, 350 of the old garrison, and 400 of the eight 
companies of the reenforcements, and as there are in this gar- 
rison no more than 356 between the two, it is plain that I 
need 394 men, just the number I am asking for, and having 
reference to the terms under which the King held this place. 
But as it is now threatened with the most furious anger rea- 
son of the damage inflicted upon the English in their siege 
of it, it is my duty at the same time to ask Your Excellency, 
should the war continue, for 300 armed men more, mulattoes 
and free negroes from the militia of Cuba. I regard it as 

Siege of St Augustine 67 

important to the best and most useful service of the King, 
that in the agreement made to this end, it be stipulated and 
arranged with them, that they are to do armed duty when 
necessary, and manual labor all the time, these being the 
two purposes they must understand they are coming for. 
But if this should appear to Your Excellency to be too heavy 
a task, an agreement might be reached with them to divide 
them into two shifts, giving to one half indulgence, in order 
to have them work for weeks or months, and allowing them 
to employ their spare time in rest or amusement, or in the 
pursuit of anything that might appeal to the intelligence of 
each one. 

And if Your Excellency could send them armed, it will be 
and is of significance to the King's service, there being no 
one here to perform it, because this is mow a Hospital. At 
the same time, I must point out to Your Excellency that it 
would be most profitable to send the negroes and mulattoes 
at the very first opportunity to put the position into the 
proper condition, and that the infantry and artillery should 
be here by December 20 of this year at the latest. 

The great penetration of Your Excellency will perceive 
from these terms, that the King can impose no charge upon 
me without my recurring to Your Excellency, as he com- 
manded, for all that is necessary to put this place in the con- 
dition His Majesty desires, and that in following this course 
I am discharging my obligation in obedience to the royal 
orders directing me to apply to Your Excellency for all that 
the custody of this place demands. With respect to all this, 
I believe that if it be possible, all measures will promptly be 
taken to send me the succor in question : and that if it be 
impossible to send the number of troops and militia, Your 
Excellency will fully satisfy the King on this point, and I 
shall have fully complied with his sovereign commands, and 
no one can caluminously charge me with omission, indolence 
or neglect. 

I firmly believe that Your Excellency's lofty talents will 
not disavow my legitimate and just petitions in behalf of the 
royal principle whence they flow; and that if the King des- 
tines troops for the better defense of this place, my petitions 
would still remain in force; for His Majesty will naturally 
count upon his garrison, and upon what he had before direct- 
ed to be sent, because he will think that his directions have 
been obeyed. 

Florida, August 7, 1740- 

68 Letters of Montiano 

No. 248. 

After learning of the loss of the Convoy of supplies sent 
by Your Excellency to this place, in the brigantine of Andres 
Gonzales and the sloop of the King, I managed successfully 
to arm the Campeche sloop as a privateer. It went out the 
17th of October and having captured a Carolinian schooner 
sent her here under the charge of Domingo Quintana, Don 
Juan de Hita, two boys, and a negro. And although she 
came to the entrance of this port six days afterward, and 
our launch went out to pilot her having made no attempt to 
speak her, as neither did the port, since she was going to 
the southward, and was taken for an Englishman, she with- 
drew, but so far we have not the slightest news of her. We 
believe either that she must have been lost in some storm, or 
that three Englishmen she had aboard, the two boys and a 
woman were killed while drunk, as the first were, the rest 
being taken asleep. A few days later, Oglethorpe's ser- 
geant major was captured, and through bad management I 
lost two men, one killed and the other wounded by the 18- 
pounders of the frigate and despatch boat. A pink was cap- 
tured off Carolina,* on its way to Hamburg, and having on 
board over nine thousand artobas (quarters) of rice, which 
has been the salvation of this city, because from the 28 of Oc- 
tober when she came in, the troops and entire neighborhood 
have lived on it, baking it into roscas (ring-shaped biscuits 
or cakes). The said Joseph Sanchez having declared that 
he wished to leave off privateering and sell his sloop, I ar- 
ranged to buy and arm it, rigging it anew with captured 
tackle, to the satisfaction of Fandino, who it was suggested 
wished to go privateering. Equipping it according to his 
judgment, and leaving him freedom of action, the sloop was 
fitted out much to the satisfaction of everybody that not 
even from the ways could she have gone forth better equip- 
ped. With 80 men picked out by him, the 50 of the gal- 
liots, and 30 from this place, and a sergeant and six soldiers 
he asked for, she hoisted sail on December 3 with a good 
wind, and on the 5th at dawn found herself on the bar of 
Carolina* itself, although it was his intention to station him- 
self off Cape Ferro, out of sight of land ; but finding himself 
so near to Carolina,* as well as to the pilot on the bar, he 
captured him. Keeping in view at the same time a priva- 

* Charleston. 

Siege of St. Augustine 69 

teering sloop which had just left the port on its way to Ja- 
maica, the two privateers closed, and according to the report 
of three men succeeded in bringing the launch, went off to- 
gether cannonading each other ; from time to time there was 
musketry fire. The men say they were unable to follow their 
privateer and fearing lest the Englishman should capture 
them if he tacked, they tried to make the coast. The 
Englishman was seen to tack toward the land and returned 
to his port : our ship was lost to view standing out to sea. 
Before going aboard, Fandino was heard to say he would 
go farther north because now they were discovered in those 

The three men who brought in the launch (which re- 
sembles our boat here with its deck) separated from the pri- 
vateer with only two ship biscuit : with what they could catch 
with a hook, they succeeded in arriving safely. A little ne- 
gro of 10 or 12, taken in the launch says that the largest and 
best part of Carolina, to wit the houses of the Marina (water- 
front) has been burned, the fire having lasted two weeks ; 
that the powder magazine blew up, and that there were three 
manuales ** in the harbor. 

On the 19th a schooner much larger than that of Muga- 
guren anchored on our bar, captured by our privateer Fan- 
digo, who writes me from Cape Ferro what Your Excel- 
lency may see in copy herewith. Two prisoners sent in 
her bring no special news other than what Your Excellency 
may get from the declaration they made. 

On the 29th instant, our privateering sloop returned be- 
cause the crew could not stand the rigors of the winter, 
which has been cruel. Fandino came ashore, and told me of 
another schooner he had captured, but without supplies, only 
a few useless things, such as aguardiente, honey-cakes, and 
flag stones ; and that she must be well out to sea, as she was 
caught in a storm in the Bahama Channel. The captains 
of the two schooners, and the Carolina pilot whom Fandino 
took aboard the privateer, and whom I caused to be examin- 
ed to-day, have no more news to give than the short paper 
of the said 29. 

Yesterday we caught sight of an English frigate seemingly 
of 20 to 24 guns : to-day it has remained in view until 3 of 
the afternoon. Bearing in mind Fandino's performance on 

** I. e. men o' war. See note, ante. Tr. 

jo Letters of Montiano 

the bar of San Jorge, I infer that they must have armed one 
of their manuales to pursue the privateer, or to come and 
wait here, as it were to hamper the entrance of the boats 
sailing from this city. With reference to this, if on receipt 
of this, there should be some strong boat, capable of at- 
tacking this one, I beseech Your Excellency to send it, to 
clear the coast ; because it is very possible they will be chas- 
tised, and from the fear so engendered, will not so lightly 
undertake to blockade us. 

Florida, Jan. 2, 1741. 

I have just heard that the Carolina pilot says this frigate 
was to leave for the purpose of remaining four months off 
this port, and that her captain had so promised the Parlia- 
ment. And I fear lest the small boats missing from the last 
shipment, and that of Escalera may fall into its hands.